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.
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.
The CROOKSBURY LINE at around 232 degrees would seem to be aligned to the midwinter sunset. At just over 7 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 (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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.