Tag Archives: ancient sites

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.

Home

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 a temporary storage for information which may be added to the pages and are 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.  Go to www.pauldevereux.co.uk and click on ‘ley lines’ in the contents panel.

 

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 possible 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 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 sight line 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 1980’s 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.  A 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+, 237 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.

SCALE PLAN OF THE CROOKSBURY 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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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