Bygone Haslemere. A Short History of the Ancient Borough and its immediate Neighbourhood from the Earliest Times. By E. W. SwANTON and P. Woods. West, Newman & Co. Pp. xvi, 394. 3 Maps, 40 plates. Price 7s. 6d. and 21s.
In this handsome volume we are presented with a very compre- hensive account of Haslemere and its surroundings, ranging from prehistoric times down to the extension of the local museum in 19 13. Original documents — wills, registers, and monumental inscriptions — are freely quoted, but there is, as is too often the case in local histories, no reference to the churchwardens' accounts. Together with much care and accuracy of detail, there is a certain lack of lucidity in the presentation of the matter. The v.'riters presuppose more local knowledge on the part of the reader than he can reasonably be expected to possess, and they treat important and unimportant features too much on the same level. The maps and illustrations are of unusual interest ; so also is the account of the early ironworks in the neighbourhood. None of them, however, seem to have stood actually within the parish boundaries (p. 152). A chapter on the local folklore (pp. 284-292), records a church-building legend, traditions of a local witch and a " wizard or wise man," as he is with great accuracy styled ; one or two items of folk-medicine (a "cramp-ball," viz. the excres- cence of an oak-tree — known to have been actually carried as an antidote to cramp — is preserved in the local museum) ; the customs of saluting wife-beaters with "rough music," of "was- sailing" the apple-trees at the New Year, and of carrying about a " Jack-a-Lent" on Easter Monday. This is by no means a common practice, and it is curious to find it flourishing together with the observance of Guy Fawkes' Day, which is so great a feature of the folklore of the south-eastern counties, and is observed at Haslemere with much vigour. There is, finally, an interesting account of the folk-songs collected in the neighbourhood, which seems to have been rich in singers.
C. S. BURNE.