Noake's Worcestershire Page 90


Charles I thought fit to fine for not taking the order of knighthood. This was probably that extraordinary genius who was so given to mechanics that he is said to have cut through mountains, carried air through them by pipes and bellows, drained water, established a mint for the King when his Majesty was deeply in want of money, hid himself for a year or more in a garret from the Parliamentarians, was always borrowing but never realising, and died 120,000 in debt. He once entertained the King and Queen at a house of his at Enstone, where he had cut curious caves in a large rock, with automaton hermits ascending from the ground with poetical addresses to royalty, while a sonnet was sung by some invisible agency in the pillar of a table, and other exploits achieved.

The " Ryknield Street" may be traced along the verge of the wide-spread terrace of Cleeve, where also there is a tumulus and a large square stone with a hole in the top, being apparently the base of a cross. Some years ago a number of skeletons were found in the soil here; and jars of Roman coins (some of them ancient counterfeits), a curious porcelain seal, and other remains, have been discovered at various times.


SITUATED on the border of the county adjoining Staffordshire - to which it belonged till the time of the Reform Bill - this delightful village from various points of view reminds one of charming bits of Swiss scenery, and the beautiful slopes of its hilly neighbourhood are covered by the villas of the gentry. The proximity of the classic ground of Hagley to the enchanting hills of Clent, the romantic ravine leading up to the church of St. Kenelm's (so abounding in legend and stories of saintly miracles), and