Tag Archives: Tyting

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 interest was compiled.  Eighty sites in all were added to a database with their Ordnance Survey coordinates.

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 may reveal far older origins than one might suspect.  At this time moats must be regarded as coincidental.  The two precise ones 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 the 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 and the Compton Line at thirty degrees to the west.  These are mirrored by the Tyting Line at thirty degrees to the east and the Newlands Line at fifty degrees to the east – again well beyond coincidence.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Entry be added to St Martha’s Church under ST CATHERINE’S LINE

Chilworth is a linear village following the River Tillingbourne and was a centre for the manufacture of gunpowder from the 17th century until the First World War. The parish church has always been St Marthas, sited high above the village to the North, on what has been called Martyrs Hill. The church was rebuilt from ruins in 1848-1850. Of the original church the earliest visible remains date to the early 12th century. The church stands some 574 feet above sea level on a greensand Ridge.

There is an old folk tale that two chapels, St Martha’s and St Catherine’s, were built by two giant sisters to expiate some sin. But having only one hammer between them they tossed it from one to the other across the two-mile gap in the river valley until the chapels were built.  A strange similarity to the belief of some new-agers that these lines are paths of some power.   I have also seen a reference to an old legend that there was a tunnel between the church and Tyting Priory down the hill to the North West, possibly suggesting folk memories of an alignment passing through the two sites.

St Martha's Chapel in winter

St Martha’s Church in winter from the North West

The five circles at St Martha’s were examined by Grinsell in 1931. Since then one has been destroyed by the construction of a reservoir and another nearly obliterated by the path from the village. In 1954, E S Wood excavated Circle number four to the west of the church. He concluded from an examination of the geology that they could have been constructed anything up to 4000 years ago and that they were sacred enclosures of the Bronze Age. Since then it has been suggested that they are more likely to be the steads of tree-clumps of eighteenth or early nineteenth century date. Due to the acidity of the sand nothing was found but a few flakes of flint. Reportedly the diameter of the circles ranges from 72 feet to 77 feet although my GPS readings suggest a figure of 88 feet for the East circle.

St Marthas NW

The church from the South East looking across the site of the two eastern rings

260_1 St Martha’s Church and Rings

St Martha's Church and Rings

Plan updated in May 2016

The following text is adapted from Surrey Archaeological Collection volume 54, 10-16.

There were originally five circles at St Martha’s, first mentioned in 1850. In 1876 Dyer, in British Popular Customs, writes that it was the custom, the origin of which is lost in the obscurity of time, for people to make a pilgrimage to St Martha’s (or Martyrs) Hill on Good Friday, and to spend the time dancing and music making around the Norman church (T F Thistleton Dyer 1876). In 1895 (G Clinch and S W Kershaw in Bygone Surrey) wrote that it clearly had no connection with the solemn event celebrated by Christians in this day. Hillare Belloc (The Old Road 1904), knew of the hill’s reputation as a pagan centre and saw it is the holy meeting place of the tribes of the area. W Johnson (Folk Memory 1908) considered a possibility that the two small mounds to the north of the church wall were tumuli and also volunteers the information that when the early Christians erected a church where a heathen temple formerly stood, they performed a dance to their god as the heathens had done to theirs. He thought that the rings may be the remains of a maze. He speculates on the possibility dancing in church is a Christianization of pagan worship. The Good Friday carousels appear to have ceased around the end of the 19th century.  The Victorian County History, Volume 3 1911, states that the best of the circles was destroyed by the construction of the reservoir.  It is recorded that people still visited the hill on Good Friday in 1914 but the singing and dancing had died out. A fair was held on Ben Piece (open ground down the hill to the west) but had died out before the end of the century.  It is known that a processional dance started in Guildford over Pewley Down, and past Tyting. Possibly similar to Helston Furry dance. Apparently the dance was both processional (symbolic of the passage from life to death and back) and round (fertility), and took place outside of the churchyard.  It is thought that it died out due to the unseemly boisterousness as befitted a spring festival. Old prints indicate that the churchyard wall may have been circular before 1890. It may be coincidence that St Martha’s was built on Martyrs Hill or could early Christians have been put to death there. Could it refer to sacrifices? There is a tradition that the church was built to commemorate the spot where the martyrs died for why else would a church be built in such an inaccessible spot. Unlike many isolated churches this one was never the centre of a vanished hamlet.

St Catherine's from St Martha's Chapel

The view West towards St Catherine’s Chapel

In May 2016 I decided to pay a visit to the prehistoric rings at St Martha’s church.  I wanted to get out there to have a look before the spring growth completely covered them, and knowing that they were very difficult to see due to the shallowness of the ditches and erosion over the years.  I did have a rough survey on plastic film that I carried out possibly in the 1980s, and as I have no memory of it at this distance in time I could not guarantee any sort of accuracy.  I also have a sketch plan from the Surry Archaeological Collections published many years ago, and which seems to be the only time a location plan was ever attempted, this bearing very little resemblance to my survey drawing.  I needed to check the accuracy of my drawing so used the handheld GPS to record what I could find of the circles. After much searching and wandering around all I could find was the top half of the circle nearest to the church.  This was recorded and transposed onto my computer database to compare with the information already entered from my original survey.  Although  it wasn’t a particularly good fit it did at least prove that what I had on my original drawing was more accurate than the sketch plan from the SAS records.  My reason for the interest in these circles was the vague possibility that they may have been positioned in a less arbitrary manner than would seem to be the case on site. Could they reflect the shape of a constellation suggesting an astronomical purpose? Or could they somehow mirror some of the alignments that I have located? Looking at them on the database neither of these seem to be a possibility and at the moment I’m ruling out any interest in these circles, but possibly at a later date their location may be of some relevance.

St Martha's looking South East

St Martha’s looking South East

 

 

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.

To be added to Chilworth Priory under TYTING LINE

Chilworth Manor is shown on older Ordnance Survey maps as the site of a Priory Cell.  There is a persistent legend that this was a monastic site but there is little to substantiate this.  There is certainly no record in the Domesday Book.  Legend has it that it belonged to Newark Priory near Ripley and Augustinian Canons lived there and sometimes officiated at nearby St Martha’s Church.  Chilworth Manor was supposedly part of the patrimony of Newark Priory and fell into disuse during the Reformation.  There is nothing older than the 17th century in the current manor building but it is extraordinary that the point 152/6 is so accurately placed within the fabric of the oldest part of the building.  Further research is needed.

Plan of Chilworth Priory

Site plan Chilworth Priory

Tyting Chapel to be added under TYTING LINE

This is a strange place – a deserted farm.  The 14th century chapel stood just to the south of the ruinous 1960s dairy buildings and was incorporated into the farmhouse of Tyting Farm when it was rebuilt in 1609, firstly as a kitchen and later, when the house became a private residence known as Tyting House, as a dining room.  In 1942 both Tyting House and Tyting Farm were acquired by the council from the Duke of Northumberland Estate to prevent undesirable development but shortly after was requisitioned by the War Department as a training establishment for spies, possibly associated with the secret SOS base at Wanborough Manor (See Crooksbury Line).  Tyting House was demolished in 1957, together with the historic chapel.  The site was in a dire state and the whole farm, including an historic barn, was razed to the ground and a modern dairy unit constructed.

The alignment (Line 152) passes through the turning area in front of the boarded-up house ‘Tyting Rise’ some twenty nine metres from the Ancient Monument symbol.  The stone retaining wall to the turning area can be seen in the bottom photograph.

152_5+ Tyting Chapel

 

Standing on site of chapel looking north over derelict farm

Standing on site of chapel looking north over derelict farm

Chapel site is just to the right of track by photographer

Chapel site is just to the right of track by photographer

TYTING MOUND (See plan above)

Labelled as a tumulus by the Ordnance Survey and certainly having the appearance of one.  It has, as far as I know, never been excavated and some opinions suggest the possibility that this is a landscape feature of the 18th century.  Usually these features were planted with pines or firs and these old stumps would support that argument.  Nonetheless it was amongst the first earthworks in Surrey to be protected as an Ancient Monument.

Tyting Tumulus

Tyting Mound looking west