Tag Archives: Compton

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   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

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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 pan 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

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.

Summary of Alignments

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.

The location of all the alignments is shown on the link below (Click on plan to enlarge in PDF).

OVERALL SITE LOCATION PLAN

Overall 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 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 mid-winter 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 another alignment which passes 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 at 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.

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.

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 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 needs further research.

PLAN OF DEERLEAP LINE

Shackleford Church added to COMPTON LINE

Plan of Shackleford Church

Site plan Shackleford Church

In 1862 the Reverend Archdall Buttermer purchased a site for a church and parsonage in the hamlet of Norney.  The site was chosen as being equidistant from the villages of Shackleford, Eashing and Hurtmore.  The church, designed by George Gilbert Scott, was consecrated in 1865 and dedicated to St Mary.

The accuracy of the location, being on one of the ten degree rays, is extraordinary but there seems no evidence that the positioning can be anything but coincidental.  Clutching at straws – Scott, as a famous architect, would almost certainly have been a freemason.  Was there a secret knowledge of alignments?  As I said – clutching at straws!

Shackleford Church from the SE

Shackleford Church from the SE

Shackleford Church from the West

Shackleford Church from the West

 

 

To be added to TYTING LINE

Although the TYTING LINE has only two points, both of dubious provenance, it is of interest in that it is thirty degrees east of the SOUTH LINE mirroring the COMPTON LINE which is thirty degrees west of the SOUTH LINE. And the point 152/5 within the building of Chilworth Manor is 5DM from Whitmoor, as is Newlands Corner Barrow twenty degrees east at 132/5 on the NEWLANDS LINE.