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July 31, 1912.


Our Weekly Illustrated Feature.

The donee remark of a Royal Princess that she knew a pretty village and intended to "keep h swsvt. at once attracted, aa might be w pooled, the attention of oaneerie writers, and they have lieen busy ever sinoe guessing /at the Princess' haven. Failing in. that reaj^ct, they have been making suggestions on their om: account, invading the peace of Surrey and the counties in their search for beanty •pots, and promptly diminishing their beantg by publisliiiig their knowledge to the world. None o' them have, as far as one has noticed, wandered into Hampshire, which abounds with many delightful spots. One remember*.' when, a feu years* ago, certain distinguished men were asked to give an opinion on the point, an en ine'ji novelist described Hursley as the prettiest village he liad ever seen.
So much of oourse depends upon the point of , view. Personal associations abed such a radi- j aroo over a plaoe to some eyes that the beauty of others is lost to them, while to other folk j the beauty that is nearest is lost in the distant vision of what is beyond. One does not purpose, therefore, to attempt a task that is , as invidious aa it is difficult, and to may that hero or there is a village which surpasses all others for beauty of situation or environment. To many people the hallowed peace of some of the Forest villages represents the supromeet beauty; to others the palm would go to the hamlets and villages which nestle so snugly among the great folds of the Hampshire downs, like Eversley. Othere have a liking for the i mellow glories of ihe Meon Valley, where Nor man chmtbee peep out from the deep green of the trees, and to another type of mind Beaulieu, swept and garnished, electrically lighted and run like a town, is the model of what the village beautiful should be. Then there is Bon church, and other sweet reposeful places in the
In these circumstances one has to explain with aome care the reasons for electing to ascribe Weaton a place among beautiful villages. It is not a matter of comparison, for comparison is more undesirable than usual in a matter of this kind. The charm of Weston is the charm of contrast, and the presence of features which aro. frequently absent from the village beautiful. It has, for example, the deep peaco of a remote hamlet, and is yet, on oc-awaon, within earshot of the clanging hammers of Woolston, of which for the purpose of local government it is a part. Within a mile, as the crow flies, is the very centre of gravity of a great port, whence flow great streams of ocean traffic to the four comers of the world, yet its population is largely made up, even U> day, of fishermen and their families, who extract a living from the waters which their fathers fished before them.
Weston, happily for itself, has just missed inclusion in the manifold activities of ths harbour over which it looks, and it is the force of contrast which first speaks to the visitor as he passes out of ihe sunlight into the dappled shade of Weston lane.
It was only on Saturday that % visitor to Southampton, obviously without knowledge ef the writer's intention to explain Weston to a public which passes its beauties unnoticed, stated to him her opinion that Weston was the prettiest place within easy reach of Southampton. That is all, as a salve to the feelings of the admirer; of other beautiful Hampshire villages, that one claims fee it. The reason fee the sweet seclusion of the place is probably that it is .off the beaten track. The main roads, save that which connects Southampton and Portsmouth, leave it untouched, and the en trance to its only thoroughfare gives no duo to the stranger that anything lies beyond save the little duster of red-brick houses to be seen
A Typical Cottage
The Obelisk at Mayfirld.
One of the Weston An hm
1 tl»o jJkhv. Strangers stands in momentary
iler beside the shaggy hut upon the shoes, giving ,iein to their in tag i nations concerning smuggler*' haunts, and then pass cm to Netley,
hioh they know. In point of fact titers is i> suvh glamour shoal the seaweed hut; it is
severely utilitarian affair, "which has grown rather than been built into a shelter for ths ■men and their nets. And what is true ci the hut is true of much else in Wesson. Every-.-here there is the suggestion of great events in
day that has haig departed, and yet Weston > a "youngster" as villages go. It* beautiful little church is modern, the peaceful church-yard, a model of reverent order and care, contains only the dust of those who died within living memory. Even the arches which lend such a charming totwh to the village street iivi modern, comparatively speaking. In spite rf their grey and age worn appearance they strike no note in history, having been orected— not so many years ago—by a member of ths Chamber lay ne family, lords of the manor, aa a means of getting from one part of the beautiful Weaton llmvo Estate to another. They are an immense set off, nevertheless, to the dark green tunnel which is the read in summer time. In-deed th««te are few lovelier wayside pictures in Hampshire than the little vignette which is heie provided on a sunny ds%. Ths rood way has the appearance of a dim oatliedral aisle, fur the trees are close and st&taly; the sunlight dapples gently through the foliage, printing a bright mtaaio of light and shade upon the path. Beyond are the quaint cottagea of the villagers, thatched in some eases, and roofed in others with mellow tiles.
The gardens have the ohargi which belongs to the remote down villages of Hants and Wiltshire. Filled to their oaken fences with ths brightest of the old English flowers, they radiate a sweetness which is alone worth a visit. There has been little attempt at planning in the cottage gardens 1 sweetness and masses Would you change the scene? Go then to the cricket ground; which is a little higher up, and face the river. It is a lovely prospect of greon and silver, and then, beyond the fining rivor the darker line of ths Forest shore can be discerned. Behind you, between theatres*, is the'bright brickwork, which is rwpidly-grow-ing Sholing Everywhere else srs green fields, whilst borne on the breeze is the faint clangour which comes fitfully from ths Docks or Woolston. It is the sense of contrast again.
Pursuing ths slightly rising and winding roadway the tall obelisk at Msyfield, Lord Red-stock's place, oome* into view. It hss a curious history, told not long ago by ths Rev. 0. W. Minns, the sdtolsrly Vicar of Woston. It wss eroded in honour of Charles James Fox, by his admirer Mr. William Chamberlayne, who eat in Parliament from 1812-30 for Bouthamp- ^ ton, and who, it la of interest to note, red ted ad port** at Winohsster College when King Ceorge III. visited the dty. When the dwlisk wss in place Dr. Parr, an eminent classicist i>7 the period, wrote a Latin inscription, which, ln-wover, wss never affixed The monument was subsequently utilised as s memorial to two horses, and their names, "Belly" and "Workman," were affixed to the panels. Thsss have mines been removed by L<»rd Radstock, but ths name of Fox is-still unrecorded, though ths olielisk was placod in position over a hundred years ago. The original inscription which Mr. Minns suggested should be placed upon ths obelisk on the occasion .0* the Fox centenary— a suggestion which- was never carried out—was in Latin The translation reads: To Charles James Fox-as a\man, rupright, honest, disinterested—a^\an .orator, able to spesk on ths greatest matter.' with clearness, elegance, and spirit- -aa a dtisen most skilled in statesman- • ship, handed down from his once*ors—most , eager in maintsining liberty, and ever striving to reconcile rulers at variance through amW-tion. This column was set up at the expense of William Ohaml>erlayne, A D. 1B10-