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This blog could be said to be all about ley lines…. but please bear with me.  I could be just as sceptical as you.  I want to know the truth and hopefully, have an open mind.

For those unfamiliar with blogs, the bit you are reading now is not called a page but a post.  All posts are at the front of the website and are chunks of information added as and when I wish to say something new.  In the header, they are listed under Home.  All other headers are pages and are the meat of the website and more akin to an e-book.  These pages are permanent (although they can be edited by me) whereas posts are temporary storage for information which may be added to the pages and is open for readers comments.

So what’s it all about…

Some forty years ago I made an extraordinary discovery – certain ancient sites in the area around my home town of Guildford were arranged within the landscape in a seemingly intentional pattern. Some sites fall upon bearings of ten degrees from a common point and are aligned at regular distances from that point. This regular distance also occurs along other alignments within the area. On one alignment I calculated a high point where I suspected a site may have existed and consequently discovered an unrecorded barrow at precisely that point – later confirmed by the County Archaeologist.

The following pages are the result of many years of intermittent research into the alignment of ancient sites across the landscape, popularly known as ley lines.  Originally ley lines were defined as the physical alignments of ancient sites but in recent years they have become to be thought of as lines of ‘earth energy’ detectable by dowsing.  This is outside my area of interest and I no longer think of or refer to alignments in this work as ley lines.

The first pages are entered under the header titled About.  After the Introduction the chapter titled Beginnings describes my early years of research and this is succeeded by Developments which describes recent research dating from the time this blog was begun.  The Summary of Alignments (also included in this home page below) is a listing and brief description of the lines, and the heading is concluded by a brief (at the moment) chapter titled The Elephant in the Corner on the contentious issue of site relevance.

At this time there are fourteen alignments listed in this work.  Others may come to light especially if the area of interest is expanded.  The alignments are divided into two groups.  The primary group is at bearings of 10° intervals from a common point.  These intervals have been refined to 9.95° and the bearings have been divided into the recurring distance interval of 3600 feet (1097.3m).  This distance, for want of a better name, I have called the Druid Mile (DM). The secondary group are all roughly East-West and contain further instances of the Druid Mile.

It should be noted that this is very much a work in progress and many entries await the addition of information.  Field-work, once all sites are studied and photographed, will be concentrated on visiting deduced points on the alignments in the hope of discovering other unrecorded sites.  This would go a long way to proving the theory.

For those who are interested in the origins and developments of the ley theory, I recommend the website of Paul Devereux who has written a concise and comprehensive history from the coining of the term by Alfred Watkins in 1921 up to recent times.  Click on the link below and open ‘ley lines’ in the contents pane

http://www.pauldevereux.co.uk

 

COINCIDENCE? – Some statistics.

The area chosen for detailed examination was approximately 25 miles east to west and 20 miles north to south, centred upon Guildford in Surrey.

Within this area a list of all prehistoric sites; pre-reformation religious sites; other ancient sites; and sites of possibly historic interest was compiled.  Eighty sites in all were added to a computer database, using AutoCAD, as Ordnance Survey (OS) coordinates.   The data was taken from the largest scale OS maps available online using Promap to give a working tolerance of one metre.

Of these sites 22 fell upon the ten-degree rays based upon a common base point (Whitmoor Barrow); 16 were in various other alignments; 18 were associated with a common distance of 3600 feet, and 11 of these sites occurred on more than one alignment.

Seven sites had serious relevance problems, being moats and Victorian churches.  These were included as, certainly, in the case of Victorian churches, a little research often reveals far older origins than one might at first suspect.  At this time moated sites must be regarded as coincidental.  The two precise ones on the alignments have been excavated with no sign of anything pre-medieval.

It may well be that some of this is coincidence but the accuracy of most of this is extraordinary – for example, if the distance value of 3600 feet (Which I have named the Druid Mile) is altered to, say 3650 feet, then this new value cannot be found between any of the 80 sites, nor can any other common distance be found.  This alone is well beyond coincidence.  What does seem to be a coincidence is the preciseness of the figure 3600.  It is well known that the English foot was not standardised until the Middle Ages and that the more ancient values varied between times and places so it is difficult to see how this originated.

The alignments radiating from Whitmoor Barrow are extremely precise  – the South Line has the Crooksbury Line at fifty degrees to the west of south and the Compton Line at thirty degrees to the west of south.  These are mirrored by the Tyting Line at thirty degrees to the east of south and the Newlands Line at fifty degrees to the east of south – again well beyond coincidence.

There are many other ‘coincidences’ described in the text of the alignments.

 

The Possible Importance of Latitude

Professor Richard Atkinson, excavator and restorer of Stonehenge in the 1950’s, has stated: ‘The position, at least of the Heel Stone and the Station Stones, and indeed the latitude of Stonehenge itself, were astronomically determined’.

The latitude of Stonehenge is 51 ̊10’42”.  It is now widely accepted that this location was chosen because it fell upon the best position to observe the midwinter and midsummer risings and setting of the sun, together with the rising and setting position of the moon at its major and minor standstills, these being the limit of its travel during the 18.6 year cycle of its travel.  At this latitude the equinoctial risings and settings of the sun are virtually opposite to each other so a sightline may have backsights and foresights; for example, the midwinter sunset in the south-west is opposite the midsummer sunrise in the north-east, and the midwinter sunrise is opposite the midsummer sunset. This only applies to a relatively narrow band of some 30 miles in width at the latitude of Stonehenge. Once one goes beyond this band the opposing risings and settings do not align.

The latitude of Whitmoor Barrow is 51̊ 16’ 24.9”.  This is just short of seven miles north of the latitude of Stonehenge, and well within the corridor of interest.  If the above is true it would seem possible that other ‘observatory’ sites might lie upon the same latitude.  Certainly, I have faith in my discovery of the possible midwinter sunset line, reinforced by my finding of an unknown barrow precisely on this line.  There is an error of just over three degrees compared with the Stonehenge figures, which could be accounted for by the elevation of the Hog’s Back, which provides a very level and clearly visible backdrop from Whitmoor Barrow.  The theodolite observation which I carried out at midwinter sunset in the 1980s satisfied me that I was observing down the alignment towards the destroyed Hog’s Back Barrow.  It would be good to check this but in the intervening years the scrub birch has grown tall and strong and it is no longer possible.

The Goseck Circle as restored

It was recently pointed out to me that the Goseck Circle bears a remarkable relationship with Stonehenge in that it is on almost the same latitude.  At 51011’53.72” it is a mere 1.35 miles north, well within the band of interest discussed above.  The Goseck Circle is a restored Neolithic monument in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt first discovered in 1991 from aerial photographs.  It is radiocarbon dated to 4900 BC and is believed to be the oldest known solar observatory, having two entrances in the henge aligning with the winter solstice sunrise in the south-east and with the winter sunset in the south-west.  The third entrance to due north has no known significance.

There was a time when researching the above would have been a doddle but with my advancing years, I find it increasingly difficult to get my head around this stuff.  If I am in error I ask that I may be put right – politely I hope!

 

 

…and so to a summary of the fourteen alignments – all of which are discussed in details in the pages of the website.

This chapter is an overview of the various alignments.  The alignments are divided into two groups.  The primary group is at bearings of 10° intervals from a common point.  These intervals have been refined to 9.95° and the bearings have been divided into the recurring distance interval of 3600 feet (1097.3m).  This distance, for want of a better name, I have called the Druid Mile (DM). The secondary group are all roughly East-West.

These descriptions are written without comment on the accuracy or relevance of the sites as these factors are more fully explored in the pages of the alignment chapters.

The location of all the alignments is shown on the link below.

PROJECT LOCATION PLAN

Each site has a unique code based upon its location within the pattern of alignments. For sites on the bearings, this code consists of a number being the angle in degrees from Ordnance Survey grid north followed by the number of Druid Miles (DM) from the base point. For sites on the East-West lines, the first number is the grid angle taken from the east end of the alignment followed by the distance in Druid Miles; these distances do not have a base point and are determined by refining locations within the pattern.  Sites with a suffix plus sign are on the alignment but a distance beyond the previous code point; for example Wanborough Church has the code 232/7+, 232 is the degree value of the Crooksbury Line and 7 is the number of Druid Miles from the base point of Whitmoor Barrow, the church is beyond that point hence the plus sign.  Sites with a suffix A are not on the alignment but are on a multiple of the Druid Mile from the base point; for example, the centre of Hillbury Hillfort (232/10A) is 10 Druid Miles from the base point but offset from point 232/10 by 190 metres. Where sites are not circular with easily defined central points the Ordnance Survey coordinates are taken as the interpolated centres of the main structures of buildings or earthworks. All the bearings radiate from the centre of Whitmoor Barrow on Worplesdon Common to the north of Guildford and are listed here in what may be some order of validity.

 

All sites are linked to the relevant pages – just click on the site name to be taken there.

 

 

THE WHITMOOR BARROW BASE POINT

Whitmoor Barrow

 


THE CROOKSBURY LINE


The CROOKSBURY LINE at around 232 degrees would seem to be aligned to the midwinter sunset.  From the beginning of the line at the Whitmoor Barrow base point, the line passes through St Bartholomew’s Church in Wanborough at just over 7 DM. At just over 8 DM, and on the extremity of visibility, lies the site of the Hogs Back Barrow on a high ridge which appears to be the aiming point for the midwinter sunset.  The line then passes close by Hillbury Hillfort (but it is two other alignments that pass through the fort itself) and then carries on to Culverswell Barrow.  I discovered this previously unrecorded barrow by predicting its position on the alignment.  Although precisely on the line it is about 15 metres beyond the 12 DM point at the crest of the hill. Carrying on down the hill the alignment terminates between two very close tumuli known as Crooksbury Barrows. Nothing has so far been found beyond this point.

SCALE PLAN OF THE CROOKSBURY LINE

Wanborough Church

Hog’s Back Barrow

Hillbury Hillfort

Littleworth Cross and Littleworth Clump

Culverswell Barrow

Crooksbury Barrows

 

 

THE NEWLANDS LINE

The next most important line is the NEWLANDS LINE; at 132 degrees this is 100 degrees from the Crooksbury Line, and again starts from Whitmoor Barrow.  At 4 DM it passes through St John’s Church in Merrow and carries on to Newlands Corner Barrow at 6 DM.  These distances are very precise and have been used as the decided criterion of the Druid Mile.  In Weston Wood, the line brushes the side of the reported position of a disputed barrow, now completely destroyed by sand extraction, and then passes through the site of a Mesolithic settlement.  At 9 DM passes close by Shere Heath Barrow but not close enough to be taken as an alignment.

 

SCALE PLAN NEWLANDS LINE

Whitmoor Barrow

Merrow Church

Newlands Corner Barrow

Weston Wood Mound

A Possibe Standing Stone on High Curley Hill

 

 

THE SOUTH LINE

The SOUTH LINE subdivides the previous two lines at 182 degrees, being 50 degrees from each, and passes through the Wey gap where the river Wey passes through Guildford with the start of the Hogs Back to the west and of Pewley Down to the east.  Some distance short of 4 DM it crosses another alignment on the site of Guildford Friary and carries on to the Mesolithic site below St Catherine’s Chapel at 5 DM.  The chapel itself is on another alignment and is just off this one.  The line terminates at Farley Hill.  Although nothing has so far been found on this hill, it does have extensive views north through the Wey gap, over the top of Guildford, all the way to Whitmoor Barrow.

SCALE PLAN SOUTH LINE

Whitmoor Barrow

Guildford Friary

St Catherines Chapel

Farley Hill

 

 

THE SHALFORD LINE

The SHALFORD LINE is a subdivision by five degrees of the radials and passes through Stoke Church and Shalford Church with no relation to the Druid Mile.  Guildford Castle, although to the west of this alignment, is at 4 DM from Whitmoor Barrow.

There is a slight variation on this line, a couple of degrees to the east an alignment from Whitmoor Barrow precisely through the centre of Stoke Church passes through Holy Trinity Church in Guildford High Street and ends at the strange mound in the graveyard.  I have since discovered that this mound is spoil from the construction of the extension of 1888.  I believe that this alignment is most likely coincidental despite being extremely precise.

SCALE PLAN SHALFORD LINE

Whitmoor Barrow

Stoke Church

Holy Trinity Church

Shalford Church

 

 

THE MOUNT PLEASANT LINE

The MOUNT PLEASANT LINE at the ten degree interval of 252 degrees is interesting in that although it has currently only one point, that point being the site of the destroyed Mount Pleasant Barrow at precisely one Druid Mile from the base point. I believe I have now rediscovered the vestigial remains of this barrow by GPS, and have added it to the database. It falls just to the west of the Ordnance Survey monument symbol on the map and is at a more compatible position to the overall pattern.  Nothing has so far been found on the outlying DM points.

SCALE PLAN MOUNT PLEASANT LINE

Whitmoor Barrow

Mount Pleasant Barrow

 

 

THE COMPTON LINE

The COMPTON LINE at 212 degrees passes through Compton Church at just over 7 DM and is interesting in that the church is on three other alignments.  Before reaching Compton church the line passes through Manor Farm moat.  Neither of these points is at a significant distance from Whitmoor.  At over 9 DM it passes through the centre of Shackleford Church. This church is Victorian and further investigation is needed.

SCALE PLAN COMPTON LINE

Whitmoor Barrow

Manor Farm Moat

Compton Church

Shackleford Church

 

 

THE TYTING LINE

The one remaining ray is the TYTING LINE.  At 152 degrees it is 60 degrees from the Compton Line. It passes close to the Ordnance Survey monument symbol for the vanished Tyting Chapel and then goes through the centre of Chilworth Priory at 6 DM.  At around 7.5 DM it passes to the west of Blackheath Moot and onward to be fairly close to Hallams Barrow but not close enough to either to be significant.

SCALE PLAN TYTING LINE

Whitmoor Barrow

Tyting Chapel

Chilworth Priory

 

 

THE SHERE LINE

The secondary group of alignments are approximately East-West. Beginning with the shortest alignment we have the SHERE LINE at 273 degrees.  Although there are only two points on this line, Shere Church and Albury Old Church, the possible significance is that they are precisely one Druid Mile apart.  The orientation of the churches is very close to the bearing.  Visits to the out-reaching points are pending.

SCALE PLAN OF SHERE LINE

Shere Church

Albury Old Church

 

 

THE WAVERLEY LINE

The longest alignment, at 251.5 degrees, is the WAVERLEY LINE.  Although this line passes close by the churches at West Horsley and West Clandon, they are discounted as the line is outside of the churchyards.  Therefore the alignment begins at East Clandon Church and passes through St John’s Church at Merrow on the NEWLANDS LINE.  It then crosses the SOUTH LINE through Guildford Friary.  At Puttenham it aligns with Frowsbury Barrow, also on another alignment, after which it crosses the corner of Hillbury Hillfort at the highest point within the ramparts.  The line currently terminates at the centre of the nave within the ruins of Waverley Abbey at a point precisely 14 DM from Whitmoor Barrow.

SCALE PLAN OF THE WAVERLEY LINE

East Clandon Church

Merrow Church

Guildford Friary

Frowsbury Barrow

Hillbury Hillfort

Waverley Abbey

 

 

THE ARTINGTON LINE

The ARTINGTON LINE, at 260°, begins at St Martha’s Chapel above Chilworth.  At Shalford, the alignment goes through the churchyard and crosses the Shalford Line.  It then goes through the courtyard of Artington Farm which is a moated site, and on to Littleton Church.  Although both these sites are ‘modern’ it is enigmatically coincidental that they are 1 DM apart.  Some distance short of 8 DM the line is through the centre of Compton Church which is on four intersecting alignments.

SCALE PLAN ARTINGTON LINE

St Martha’s Church and Rings

Shalford Church

Artington Moat

Littleton Church

Compton Church

 

 

THE FROWSBURY LINE

The FROWSBURY LINE, at 293 degrees, is interesting in that although it passes through only three points, these points are all on other alignments.  Starting at Compton church, in 1.5 DM it goes through Frowsbury Barrow on the WAVERLEY LINE, and terminates at the Hogs Back Barrow, on the CROOKSBURY LINE.

The last two alignments are the most East-West aligned and are fairly close together.

SCALE PLAN FROWSBURY LINE

Compton Church

Frowsbury Barrow

Hog’s Back Barrow

 

 

THE SEALE LINE

The SEALE LINE at 270.5 degrees begins near Shere Church and passes close to Chilworth Priory. The true alignment begins at Shalford Church, which is on two other alignments and passes through Puttenham Church and on to Seale Church.  The line terminates at Badshot Lea Long Barrow which is not marked on the Ordnance Survey and is now totally destroyed.  I have used the coordinates of the barrow as given in Surrey Archaeological Society archives. The distance between Shalford Church and Puttenham Church is precisely 6 DM.  An interesting coincidence on this line is that the distance between Puttenham Church and Seale Church and between Seale Church and Badshot Lea Long Barrow are identical at 11,900 feet.

SCALE PLAN SEALE LINE

Shalford Church

Puttenham Church

Seale Church

Badshot Lea Long Barrow

 

 

THE ST CATHERINES LINE

The ST CATHERINE’S LINE at 268 degrees.  This line possibly begins at the site of a long destroyed stone circle which once stood in the field south of the Silent Pool near Albury, the precise location of which is now lost, and therefore cannot be considered to be on this alignment.  So the first point of interest is the Weston Wood mound which is adjacent to the NEWLANDS LINE.  From there we go through St Martha’s Chapel, also on another alignment.  And on through St Catherine’s Chapel and its Mesolithic site. At Seale Church the line terminates, the lych gate being 12 DM from the centre of St Martha’s Chapel.

 

SCALE PLAN OF ST CATHERINE'S LINE

Sherbourne Stone Circle

Weston Wood Mound

St Marthas Chapel

St Catherines Chapel

Seale Church

 

THE DEERLEAP LINE

The DEERLEAP LINE at 266 degrees.  This is a recently discovered line and I am not totally convinced of its validity.  I have included it as the accuracy of the alignment is very impressive and it may be worth further investigation.  Although it has five points, one is a victorian church and one a medieval moat, but it passes through Compton Church meeting three other alignments at 16 DM and at 20 DM crosses the WAVERLEY LINE within the ramparts of Hillbury Fort.

Since writing the above I have included Church Croft at 266/19.  This site is potentially impressive and is the subject of ongoing research.

SCALE PLAN OF DEERLEAP LINE

Deerleap Barrow

Compton Church

Shere Church

Albury New Church

Chilworth Moat

Church Croft Puttenham

Hillbury Hillfort

 

 

The above posts are ‘sticky’.  That is they are stuck to the top of all the posts because of their relevance. From here on down the posts are in the order that they are written, with the most recent post being immediately below this note.

A Possibe Standing Stone on High Curley Hill

A Possibe Standing Stone on High Curley Hill

It has recently been pointed out to me by a fellow researcher, David Fernleigh, that if my NEWLANDS LINE is extended as a backsight from my base point at Whitmoor Barrow, there is a clear line of sight for some 7.2 miles across flat countryside to High Curley Hill near Lightwater village.  This line is orientated to the mid-winter sunrise in the south-east and the backsight is to the mid-summer sunset in the north-west. The two opposing bearings align because they fall within the critical band of latitude which passes through the site of Stonehenge where a similar coincidence of sighting may be found.

It is unfortunate that the view toward Whitmoor is now obscured by mature trees, many of which are evergreen pines.  The old photograph below is copied from a notice board at the Surrey Heath Museum and shows that there were once uninterrupted views to the far horizon.  This sarsen stone is unusual; although there are other sarsens in this area this is the most outstanding example.

On my second visit to the hill, I noticed a strange indentation in the sarsen; in the photograph below a conical depression can be seen in the centre.  There are other depressions but I believe these were created by root growth when the sandstone was being formed and had not yet solidified into the hard rock we now see.

 

This depression is obviously man-made.  It is very smooth and regular, unlike any of the natural features.  The remaining rainwater conceals an evenly dished base.  At the surface it is about 15 centimetres in diameter and is some 16 cm deep.  I have no idea of the age or purpose of this feature.

But this stone, although interesting, is not on the alignment, so further site investigation was required.  The summit of the hill is a flat plateau at a height above sea level of around 420 feet. The summit is at the end of a ridge extending from the west and there are views to the horizon in all directions apart from along this ridge.  It would surely have been of significance to prehistoric peoples with its flat top measuring approximately 140 metres by 40 metres wide offering panoramic views to horizons some thirty or more miles away.

Taking a ranging rod; a trowel; and a pruning saw; my next visit was concentrated on the area where the backsight of the alignment crossed the hill about 44 metres from the sarsen.  The area around the sarsen and out to the viewing point in the north-west is well-trodden and clear of scrub, but coming back towards the south-east the ground has a dense covering of heather and gorse.  Working my way from the alignment back north-west towards the sarsen I stumbled across the corner of another sarsen just visible through the growth.  The pruning saw proved ideal for ripping through the covering of heather roots to reveal a large recumbent stone.  The next photograph shows the relationship between the two sarsens – the distance between them is about 21 metres, and the recumbent stone is about 27 metres from the alignment – a very small error over seven miles and without investigation of the rising and setting of the sun at this elevation.

This photograph below is all I have been able to expose to date.  This is a public country park and I did not want to be seen digging around the stone to ascertain its extent – besides which, at my age, the effort to get this far was quite crippling.  The exposed surface measured some six feet long by 2.5 feet wide (1.8m x 1.2m).  Probing the edges did not help in determining the depth or limits of the stone.

As it is so close to the mid-summer sunset alignment, I am going to be so bold as to suggest the possibility that this sarsen was once a standing stone fallen in antiquity.

The pale corner is just visible on Google Earth at  51°20’45.41″N   0°41’30.92″W.  The altitude is given as 411 feet which gives a clear line of sight back to Whitmoor Barrow.  This is best viewed in Google Earth by selecting June 2018 in the ‘Historic Imagery’ option.

It now needs younger and fitter researchers, and with the permission of Surrey Heath Borough Council, to undertake a proper archaeological dig.  I would love to see the whole plateau subjected to examination – at the very least by ground penetration radar.

Best access to this site is from the public car park in the Lightwater Country Park off High View Road, Lightwater, postcode GU18 5YF.

 

To be added to Church Croft on DEERLEAP LINE

In May I decided to visit the Church Croft site at Puttenham before the summer growth covered too much of the area.  As it turned out I needn’t have worried, the small field (approximately 100 metres square), where the 19 Druid Mile point on the Deerleap Line sat, had recently been ploughed and the ground was clear and open.  It is strange that it is the only plot of cultivated ground in a mixed deciduous woodland.  This is an area of orange sandy soil which showed evidence of having been the site of a maize crop from last year.

Site centre is on the grey patch in centre of the view

I navigated with my hand-help Garmin GPS to the coordinates of the point on the eastern side of the field and found myself to  be in a patch of distinctly grey sandy soil about twelve metres in diameter.  In the above photograph it can just about be seen in the centre of the view.  Nothing could be found to differentiate it fro the surrounding orange soil.

View down to Puttenham from Church Croft

Although now partly obscured by the tree line on the boundary the site was found to be in a good position to see down the valley towards Puttenham.

A substantial scattering of worked flint, including a hammer stone, was evident as I walked this side of the field, and I am sure that with more time and effort I could have amassed a substantial collection.  But as I was trespassing (I did not know the identity of the land owner) I was reluctant to spend too much time there.

Hammer stone for knapping flint and two flint tools from Church Croft

A close examination of Google Earth, using historical Imagery, did not reveal anything of interest and LIDAR was no help.  It would be most interesting to have a ground penetrating radar survey carried out.

Addition to CULVERSWELL BARROW

 

Exploration of potential sites has ground to a halt whilst the summer growth is at its most prolific.  With lack of outdoor research to do but with the urge to get out on a beautiful September day, I thought it would be good to see how Culverswell Barrow was looking. Followers of this blog will know that this unknown barrow was rediscovered by me many years ago in a position predicted at a high point on an alignment and thus is crucial in validating my work.

I have previously described my interest in the possibilities of using LIDAR contours and that I have downloaded the Crooksbury area.  The picture below shows the barrow located within the LIDAR contours and moved slightly to coincide with the landform.  This brings it more perfectly onto the alignment and a few metres nearer to the twelve Druid Miles position.  My early theodolite research, before the growth of silver birch obscured the view, suggested that the line from Whitmoor Barrow, through Hogs Back Barrow, was aligned to the mid-winter sunset.

Clicking on the PDF link below will show that the diameter is 26.5 metres (87 feet) and that the altitude is 110.25 metres.

Culverswell revised with LIDAR

 

There is a small car park about half a kilometre south of Littleworth Cross on the west side of the road and from here a forestry track goes past the barrow on the south side.  Since my previous visit the site has been extensively cleared of Scots Pines and for the first time the barrow is clearly visible.  In the picture below, taken from the forestry track, the barrow can be seen on the horizon in the centre of the photograph.

Barrow at centre of horizon seen from forestry road

This picture shows how the ground is ravaged by the extraction works but happily the barrow itself does not appear to have been much affected by the tracking of large machinery, possibly because it is dry as opposed to the more boggy ground below it where some deep tyre tracks are visible in the sandy surface.

Barrow seen from the west showing typical damage to terrain

Below is the best view I could get of the barrow showing how prominent is its position in the landscape with uninterrupted views to the South Downs.

Barrow seen from the north

Standing on the highest point it can be seen that the bracken is obscuring the surface and a return visit in the spring, once this has died back, is anticipated.

From top of barrow looking south east down to forestry road on the right

Shropshire church found to be UK’s oldest sacred site still in use

 

The following is extracted from an article in the Shropshire Live website dated 18 May 2017.  This will be added to the pages on site continuity titled ‘The Elephant in the Corner’.

The church, known as the Church of the Holy Fathers, now belongs to the Greek Orthodox Church which bought it for the nominal sum of £50 from the Church of England in 1994 and saved it from dereliction. It was previously called St John the Baptist and dedicated to St Milburga in pre-Reformation times. It stands on the edge of a housing development site in Sutton on the edge of Shrewsbury in Shropshire.

Local Anglicans had held services there once a year, but it had not been a regularly functioning parish church since before the First World War and had stood in the corner of a farmer’s field, effectively used as a barn for storage.

The Church of the Holy Fathers, Sutton, Shrewsbury.

Carbon dating of a wooden post, which extracted from the dig in February, has shown it was first placed in the ground in 2033 BC – a time when the ancient Egyptians were still building Pyramids.  Archaeologists expected the post to turn out to be Anglo-Saxon, so were shocked to discover it dated from the late Neolithic/early Bronze Age period instead.

The dig has given a fuller picture to the ancient history of the site at Sutton, Shrewsbury. Its findings correspond directly with earlier archaeological excavations, carried out on nearby development land to the east of the tiny Medieval church in the 1960s and ‘70s, which unearthed evidence of Bronze Age and Neolithic structures. It wasn’t then known that these were connected with the church site.

Back then archaeologists discovered burial mounds and cremations, slots for standing stones and two rows of Neolithic post holes and a ditch, known as a cursus, which they interpreted as a processional walkway. It was aligned east to west, extending towards the current late 12th/early 13th-century church.

The recent archaeological dig now shows that the prehistoric site extends to a larger area to the west of the church and that the building is built directly on top of both a previous Anglo-Saxon church and prehistoric structures. The current 10–metre long church itself was discovered to have originally been three times longer and to have once had transepts.

“The 15-inch section of post we found was sticking up into the Medieval foundations. It appeared to have been deliberately incorporated,” said archaeologist Janey Green, “We thought we had found a Saxon post that formed part of an earlier church amongst Medieval foundations, but the radiocarbon dates have shocked us all! What we actually have is a sacred site dating back over 4000 years. It appears the current Medieval church is built over the site of an ancient pagan burial ground that’s been in use from the late Neolithic period through to Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman, Anglo-Saxon and through to today. These findings appear to indicate that this special place has been recognised and honoured by our ancestors from at least 2,000 years before Christ until the present day. To put it into context – all this was being built and used at the same time as the ancient Egyptians were building pyramids for their Pharaohs and writing in hieroglyphics”.

“What makes this site different is the continuity of ritual practice in one form or another. It predates the Basilica of Rome. It is well known that Christians liked to build churches on pagan sites, but this goes back to the Neolithic and this time we have the archaeological evidence so we can rewrite the history books and add to our knowledge”. There are other British sites of Christian churches known to date back to prehistoric origins.  The best known is probably Knowlton Church at Cranborne Chase in Dorset.  A Norman ruin built within a Neolithic henge.

Knowlton Church at the centre of Neolithic henge

“The earliest sacred development on the site was probably a stone circle with a cursus, a processional walkway. It’s tremendously important to fully understand what is going on here and another phase of excavation is desperately needed. Christian use of the site probably goes back to the late 7th century when the manor of Sutton was given to St Milburga, the founder and abbess of Wenlock Priory sometime between 674 and 704 AD.

Church priest Father Stephen Maxfield said “Who would have thought that this little church, stood in the corner of a field and written off as a ‘shed’, has turned out to have a history of great significance. It’s quite possible that Milburga herself visited this location,” he said. “From the moment we first saw this building as a crumbling ruin, full of farmer’s clutter, we thought it was a very special building. Now we know that it is and that it is quite unique. It is a place of transcendence and healing”.

Other significant finds from the archaeological dig include a carved Saxon stone from an archway, the remains of what is thought to be an Anglo-Saxon apse, a prehistoric worked flint and a Neolithic stone counting disc. Some unusual animal burials were found, but these are thought to be Medieval and have yet to be dated.

Ms Green found two coins, minted from between 1625 and 1634, amongst rubble from a wall collapse and believes this could indicate that two-thirds of the church collapsed during that period or slightly later, possibly during the English Civil War, 1642 to 1651.

The dig was started because a new housing development of 300 homes is currently being constructed next door to the church. The first phase of the dig has been completed but archaeologists believe there is more to be found in the area.

Read the full article via shropshirelive.com at: http://www.shropshirelive.com/2017/05/18/archaeological-dig-discovers-shropshire-church-is-earliest-known-sacred-centre-still-in-use/

LIDAR

LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is an airborne mapping technique, which uses a laser to measure the distance between the aircraft and the ground. Up to 100,000 measurements per second are made of the ground, allowing highly detailed terrain models to be generated at spatial resolutions of between 25cm and 2 metres.

At the moment I am working on an area of some ten kilometres square centred on the barrow I discovered on Culverswell Hill (see CROOKSBURY LINE). So far I have selected some landforms and listed the positions as Ordnance Survey coordinates. I will be visiting the sites and locating the positions using a Garmin hand-held GPS with the hope of some positive results.

Unfortunately, the LIDAR data comes at a cost; the Crooksbury area came to nearly £50.  Also it is difficult to manipulate due to the large size of the data files. The above area was a composite of several downloads into AutoCAD and care had to be taken not to crash the computer.

This is a sample of LIDAR taken from a recent job. The contours are at one metre intervals. On my project, I plot them at half metre intervals for more detail.  In this example, the rectangular area is a recreation ground and the bumps and humps are old mineral workings.

It should be noted that LIDAR is capable of penetrating trees and vegetation and the contours are the height of the terrain.

Church Croft added to DEERLEAP LINE

I have in my library a copy of ‘Puttenham under the Hog’s Back’ by Ruth Dugmore. Published in 1972 by Philimore Press.  At long last it has risen to the top of the pile of my required reading and I was interested to find the following:

‘In the seventh century England was divided up into vast dioceses. And each of these dioseces would have a minster. And from these minsters priests and laymen would penetrate the rough countryside evangelising. They would stop at a cross which was possibly erected on an old pagan site and would preach to those who came to hear them. As they evangelised they would push further afield and chapels would be set up where once there was only a preacher’s cross. The minster however would remain the mother church. There was a minster at Tuesley and it is almost certain that the area would have been Christianised from the minster there. One of the duties of the travelling priests would be to discover sites dedicated to heathen gods. Here the priest would set up a cross and substitute a Christian service for a pagan one’.

Another extract from Mrs Dugmore’s book:

‘In Puttenham there is a possibility of a heathen centre which became a Christian place of worship at Church Croft; a small hill not far from the village, which is approached by a network of tracks and paths. The name Church Croft has no significance in later times and was never church property, but there must have been a reason for it. Could it have been an altar which had been erected to some god and where a preaching cross was later set up?’

And an extract from the highly recommended website ‘Surrey Medieval’ by Robert Briggs.

‘Another piece of evidence of a very different kind (but whose record we again have Rev. Kerry to thank for) suggests a more complex chronology. Local folklore maintained that the first church in Puttenham was sited almost a mile to the southwest of the village in a location known as Church Croft. Kerry told the story thus: “In the plantation near Mr Hewettʼs Barn [no longer in existence; its site lies west of present-day Gores Farm] is a spot where it is said by the old people that the church was to have been erected, but that their pious intention was frustrated by the fairies who removed in the night what had been erected in the day to the place where the church now stands”. It is not hard to be captivated by such a tale, and Knox interpreted it as signifying the destruction of an early church on a site of pagan worship by ʻsupporters of the old religionʼ’.

‘In the case of Puttenham, the name Church Croft may hold the key. We know a new rectory at the east end of the church – effectively in ʻthe place where the church now standsʼ to repeat Kerryʼs words – was provided for in the will of Richard Lussher who died in 1502. Its previous site is undocumented, but a decent case can be made for it to have stood atop Church Croft. For one thing, this would mesh with John Blairʼs observation that many medieval Surrey rectories were isolated from their churches. A simple explanation of the fairy story, one which accommodates its key components, is that it was the rectory removed from its original site at Church Croft and re-established on a site so close to the church as to count as being “where it stands”.’

Many of the barrows in the area of Puttenham, Seale, and around were dug into by the above mentioned reverend Charles Kerry, curator of Puttenham church from 1868 to 1877, and indeed it may be him responsible for the cross trench on the crown of Culverswell Barrow. Unfortunately he seems to have been a ‘hobby archaeologist’ and was lax in recording his finds. After spells in various livings from Bedfordshire to Northumberland, he ended his career in Derbyshire with all his notebooks. Upon his death these were left to Derby Public Library. There may be something of interest there but probably a long shot.

screenshot-church-croft-1

Church Croft appears to fall upon the DEERLEAP LINE, shown crossing as a red line above, it is  at the nineteen Druid Mile (DM) point in private land being used as a pheasantry. Last week I visited this point using my hand-held GPS to locate the precise location.  From the rough track, visible running up the left side of this Google Earth image, I navigated through mixed woodland to an unkempt field knee deep in weeds, seen in the centre of the image.  The point is in the north east corner of the field and is the edge of the top of this high ground.  The land to the east falls downhill on a shallow gradient towards the village.  It was difficult to judge but this area would appear to be at the highest point on the ridge which extends all the way back to Hillbury Hillfort.  In the LIDAR image below the red circle marks the 19 DM point and the shape of the field above can be made out.

puttenham-common-lidar_edited-1

In this image the high ridge of common land runs from Hillbury (266 degrees and 20 DM), outlined in red, through to the red circle of 266/19.  An ancient field system can be seen all over the high ground, little known before the introduction of LIDAR, with valleys running downhill on the north and south sides.  A trackway can be seen running from point 266/20 inside the south east corner of the fort fairly straight towards point 266/19.

Hillbury to Hogs Back looking NE View from 266/20 inside the fort looking north east to show the terrain.

Puttenham Church added to SEALE LINE

 

270_7-puttenham-church-rev

270_7-puttenham-church-rev

Taking advantage of the glorious sunshine of the last few days, and ignoring the bitter cold, I visited Puttenham to revisit the church and look at Bury Hill. I had downloaded the Ordnance Survey of the area around the church to include Bury Hill to the immediate east and to show more detail around the church. The church itself is a very conventional restoration of 1861 with little to see of its origins. Only the Norman pillars between the aisle and the nave being of interest. The original street ran around the south of the churchyard, through the grounds of Puttenham Priory, and was diverted by the Lord of the Manor around the north side in the 1820s. Although the church stands on rising ground from the village, it does not stand at the highest point, this being the knoll behind the church to the east known as Bury Hill. It has been suggested that the name originates from the existence of a Bronze Age round barrow on the crown. Bury Hill is now in the grounds of Puttenham Priory, currently the home of Roger Taylor the Queen guitarist, and is not accessible. It is possible to walk the north and east limits along the road and it can be seen that the top of the hill is some five metres above road level and would have been a prominent landscape feature before the present dense vegetation developed. Once again we see the possibility of a religious site evolving from pagan origins.

screenshot-bury-hill-promap

Ordnance Survey extract of area

Puttenham Church from The Street

Puttenham Church from The Street looking East

The LIDAR image below, with the church outlined in red, shows very distinctly the extent of Bury Hill in the centre.

bury-hill-lidar_edited-1

dscf9801

Referring to the plan at the top of the post it will be seen that the SEALE LINE passes through the inside of the above wall to the Manor Chapel on the left.  More clearly understood by comparing with the floor plan below.  The seven Druid Mile point is just off the east corner of the Manor Chapel.

plan-of-puttenham-church

Manor Farm Moat added to the COMPTON LINE

There are only four points on this alignment which is 30 degrees west of the SOUTH LINE reflecting the TYTING LINE which is 30 degrees east of the SOUTH LINE.  Unfortunately two of these points have relevance problems, this being one of them, but the alignment is of extraordinary accuracy.

Plan of Manor Farm Moat

Manor Farm Moat on COMPTON LINE

Manor Farm Moat on COMPTON LINE

Guildford Park Manor was excavated by the University of Surrey Archaeological Society over four seasons from 1972 to 1975. The moated site was found to be a substantial house from the 13th century, the house occupying the southern end of the moated area. At the point where the alignment passes through the island within the moat the stone foundations of a small building were excavated. The manor house was the home of the keeper of Guildford Park, a position created by Henry II at the beginning of his reign in 1154. A hedge survey gave results which are consistent with the park boundary and road to the house being established in the 12th century and most of the field boundaries surrounding the house dates to about 1700 when the park was divided into farms.

Manor Farm looking west from the site of the medieval manor

Manor Farm looking west from the site of the medieval manor

Just before Christmas 2016 I decided to try and find this site, which is surprisingly remote despite being within the grounds of the University of Surrey. Parking at the university sport centre I walked around rugby fields and navigated to a wooded area surrounded by more playing fields in the course of construction. The site is adjacent to derelict farm buildings and is quite a little oasis circled by scrubby growth. The moat is difficult to see but can be made out with a little exploration. Happily it has been proposed that this Scheduled Monument should be enhanced with appropriate planting in consultation with English Heritage.

The moat viewed from the northern end

The moat viewed from the northern end

Culverswell Barrow

The following Page is copied into Posts because it seems very few visitors look beyond the Posts and therefore miss this important finding which is crucial to the credibility of the  pattern.

The CROOKSBURY LINE at 232.32 degrees from North would appear to be aligned to the mid-winter sunset.  At just over 7 Druid Miles (DM) the line passes through St Bartholomew’s Church at Wanborough.  At just over 8 DM, and on the extremity of visibility, lies the site of the Hogs Back Barrow on a high ridge which appears to be the aiming point for the midwinter sunset.  The line then passes close by Hillbury Hillfort at 10 DM, but it is other alignments which pass through the fort itself, and then carries on to Culverswell Barrow.   Although precisely on the line it is slightly beyond the 12 DM point at the crest of the hill. Carrying on down the hill the alignment terminates between two very close tumuli known as Crooksbury Barrows. Nothing has so far been found beyond this point.

Culverswell Barrow

Culverswell Barrow ditch with mound on right side viewed from the south before the removal of trees.

232_12 Culverswell Barrow

 

RED LETTER DAY

On 25 July 1979 I finally proved to my own satisfaction that at least one of the alignments was laid out intentionally by prehistoric peoples. I had always realised that my case would be greatly enhanced by the discovery of a previously unrecorded barrow in a precise location predetermined by myself prior to a site visit.

It had seemed logical that one would be more likely to find a prehistoric site on the highest point of an alignment and so profiles were produced using the contours shown on the Ordnance Survey six inch to the mile maps. These proved very useful for the demonstration of sightlines and showed several high points where no ancient site was recorded. One of the most prominent of these was at Culverswell Hill on Crooksbury Common at the south western end of the CROOKSBURY LINE. The alignment was followed on a compass bearing from the well-preserved bowl barrow about 300 m to the South West. After negotiating some dense rhododendron bushes I emerged onto the pine covered plateau to the North West of the bluff to be confronted by a large mound surrounded by a shallow ditch. It was so obviously a barrow that it was quite beyond me that it was unknown to the Surrey Archaeological Society. The top was deeply cut by a badly eroded cross- trench indicating that it had been dug into at some time in the distant past but had remained unrecorded. The following weekend a tacheometric traverse was carried out from Littleworth Cross to the mound through the nearby Crooksbury barrows and back to the road thus establishing a grid reference for my survey pegs by the barrow to 1m of accuracy. When plotted onto the 1 to 1250 Ordnance Survey sheet it would seem to be in alignment as predicted.

The barrow has since been visited by the County Archaeologist who requested the county’s foremost expert on the Bronze Age. Mr Stuart Needham, to give his opinion. Mr Needham ruled out the alternatives such as a windmill stead, or landscaping and concluded his report by expressing great surprise that such a fine prehistoric monument had remained unrecorded in an area well known for its earthworks. I suspect that one reason is that most people walking in this area of Scots pine covered sandy hills would use the established paths. The path which crosses below the bluff affords a view up to the barrow but as no ditch is visible from the south side owing to the erosion of the slope, the earthwork appears to be merely the top of the small hill. The ditch and mound are only obvious when viewed from the North, the least accessible direction.

Letter to Dr D G Bird, County Archaeological Officer, from Stuart Needham.

‘Dear David

ROUND MOUND ON CULVERSWELL HILL C. SU 89234561.

Thank you for notifying of this earthwork;  I have recently had the opportunity of visiting the site.  I found a sizeable round mound approximately 24.8m diameter and perhaps approaching 2m in height.

The top of the mound has been mutilated in the past by the digging of a cross-shaped trench, now much silted.  Around roughly half of the mound’s base may be detected traces of a ditch 2.8m across and at present barely 0.2m deep.  The mound is sited on the end of an eastward facing spur with steep slopes on three sides.  The ditch peters out here, perhaps there having been no necessity for it, or otherwise it has been removed or concealed by a greater degree of erosion down the slopes.  Inspection of the side of a foxhole suggested a possible composite mound structure, but as usual such evidence is ambiguous.  The ground to the west rises gently and evenly with no indications of undulations frequent in this sort of sandy terrain resulting from natural agencies, or extractive disturbance.  There are some rhododendron clumps immediately to the west of the mound, but no sign of any associated landscaping.

In my opinion the extant features – the size, circular plan, evidence for a ditch, and its siting – are strongly in favour of it being a genuine ditched bowl barrow, which would of course normally be referable to the earlier Bronze Age.  Other possibilities such as a natural mound, a feature of relatively recent landscaping, or the base of a post windmill, can I think be reasonably dismissed for the present.

It really is astonishing that that such a fine upstanding monument should have escaped notice for so long in view of the proximity of the triple (sic) bell barrow on Crooksbury Common!

Best wishes

Stuart Needham’

In the summer of 2015 the site was visited with the purpose of carrying out a GPS survey and the resultant coordinates were added to the AutoCAD database.  This showed that the original survey was accurate and that the barrow was indeed perfectly on the alignment.

St Nicholas Church, Compton

I now turn my attention to one of the most interesting sites – the church of St Nicholas in the village of Compton.

The church is mainly Norman in construction with a Saxon tower to the West end. This church is unique in having a two story sanctuary above the chancel built in the 12th century. The purpose of this arrangement is a puzzle.  The saxon wall to the north side of the chancel has a small window believed to have belonged to a hermit’s cell.

212_7+ Compton Church212_7-compton-church-rev

217_7-compton-church-rev

Uniquely there are four alignments passing through this site.  Beginning with the FROWSBURY LINE; there are only three sites on this alignment.  Starting at the church the line heads north west at 293 degrees and passes through Frowsbury Barrow at just over 1.5 Druid Miles.  In just under 1.5 DM it ends at the Ancient Monument sign marking the Hogs Back Barrow.  This barrow is also on the CROOKSBURY LINE.  The churchyard at Compton is very roughly circular and if it can be demonstrated that a circle of the same diameter as Frowsbury can be fitted within this area suggesting the possibility that the church is evolved from a similar site.

The COMPTON LINE passing through the church at 219 degrees mirrors the TYTING LINE, both being 30 degrees east and west of the SOUTH LINE.  It is strange that the site to the north east on the line is a medieval moat and the site to the south west is a Victorian church, and yet the alignment of these site is extraordinarily precise.

The ARTINGTON LINE through the body of the church also has dubious sites which need further research.

The fourth line, the DEERLEAP LINE at 260 degrees, has six points although one is a moat and another is a Victorian church, but once again the precision is exceptional.  Refinement of this line brings it to the north side of the church but well within the churchyard.  The distance from Deerleap Barrow to the churchyard is 16 Druid Miles.

Compton Church from South East

Compton Church from South East

Compton Church from South West

Compton Church from South West

In the above picture three alignments meet inside the door from the porch.