History and Tradition.
A few weeks ago I took down some conversations from three old people about the Civil War. These people live in a straggling hamlet between Bradford-on-Avon and Bath, called Farleigh Wick. The land stands about 500 feet above the river Avon.
I first began talking to Mr. Sumsion about the whereabouts of the old main road, traces of which are to be seen; and he pointed out a portion of it running close by his very cottage—he remembered it well.
"'Twere a different sort of road to what is made now," he said. "It went up through Farleigh Wick just as 'tis now, crossed over to Shoots Lane, and went right down the steep valley over the ford to Bath; 'twas terrible when they drov' the cattle down there."
"What was Shoots Lane?" said I.
"Where they fought," said he.
"When was the fighting?" I asked.
"Oh! 'twas when they fought to help keep the French away — I only knowed about it from my great-grandfather. He talked of it. Soldiers, hundreds of 'em, passed up here and was killed there."
Mrs. Sumsion chimed in that "Shoots Lane ran with blood."
Old Mrs. Deverell in the village remembered more.
"They was fighting all day," said she; "and the king was sitting having his dinner in Claverton Manor when a cannon ball burst close to him. It was a wonder he wasn't killed"—her grandmother knew a lot about it—"'twas common talk here," she said.
My last informant was smoking a pipe in the immediate locality of Shoots Lane.
"Yes, this is the place," he said, "and the walls have never been touched. You can see the holes in them made by the guns."
We walked down Shoots Lane—a muddy narrow farm track, with ruinous walls covered with ivy and other growth. There were great gaps here and there, and thick ivy growing in between.
"They used to pick up guns and such-like when I was a lad, but there's nothing left now."
The lane looks right over Claverton Manor.