Megalithic service stations?

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Re: Megalithic service stations?

Postby Mick Harper » 3:44 pm

Not so obvious as to escape my attention. In TME we point out that 'kraals' (the origin of what archaeologists laughingly call 'hillforts') are necessary to protect livestock from attack from both animal and human predators. Village greens were probably also for this purpose originally.

Historical sources of droving practices would be useful if anyone knows where they are to be found.
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Re: Megalithic service stations?

Postby spiral » 7:48 am

hvered wrote:
Donna wrote:The term “maiden” is becoming an increasingly mysterious term as orthodoxy finally rids itself of the various folkloric guesses that currently festoon place-name theory. They are almost but not quite at the stage of “We don’t know”. Is this one associated with trees as the name implies? I ask because most of the chalk-country stuff I am familiar with is notably tree-free.

Maiden indicates a timber tree (as opposed to trees that are pollarded or harvested for fencing etc.).

It may be that maiden used in connection with an enclosure reflects its unpenetrated, unbroken status in contrast to the embankments from earlier, broken causewayed enclosures e.g. Maiden Bower" which literally means "unbroken enclosure".


Are you sure?

This appears the type of thinking that Donna is debunking.

Maiden.= Mai....Den its similar to May....Field. It is probably just two words simply added together.
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Re: Megalithic service stations?

Postby Stuart » 9:15 am

spiral wrote: Maiden.= Mai....Den its similar to May....Field. It is probably just two words simply added together.

'Maiden' crops up regularly enough as a place-name that I wonder if it simply means midden. Tall straight trees grown for timber, would they not thrive in muck? Where there's muck etc. etc. I seem to be getting obsessed about rubbish but can't help thinking wherever and whenever people live and work there should be heaps of the stuff.

This is a recurring problem with sites where people have worked, fought, herded and the like. Maiden could be the English equivalent of mynydd, Welsh for mountain, i.e. mound. Or even mined. Are Maiden hills just slagheaps? When archaeologists find a site with, say, char marks, can they distinguish between a so-called temple and a workshop?
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Re: Megalithic service stations?

Postby Boreades » 11:31 am

Stuart wrote:
spiral wrote: This is a recurring problem with sites where people have worked, fought, herded and the like. Maiden could be the English equivalent of mynydd, Welsh for mountain, i.e. mound. Or even mined. Are Maiden hills just slagheaps? When archaeologists find a site with, say, char marks, can they distinguish between a so-called temple and a workshop?


Judging by the Archaeos' track record, they will probably call it Ritual Sacrifice To Pagan Gods.
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Re: Megalithic service stations?

Postby hvered » 4:35 pm

Boreades wrote: Judging by the Archaeos' track record, they will probably call it Ritual Sacrifice To Pagan Gods.

Laurence Keen, an ex-president of the British Archaeological Society, was mystified by TME and having seen an article of his on Batcombe Down's menhir, called the Cross in Hand, I can see why.* He keeps wondering what it's doing in such an out-of-the-way spot yet further on reveals that from here you have 'a commanding view of both the English and Bristol Channels' and even more revealingly says that local folklore describes how the Cross in Hand became a pillar of fire when a priest dropped his pyx there.

I looked up pyx and found
1. Also called pyx chest the chest in which coins from the British mint are placed to be tested for weight, etc.
2. (Christianity / Ecclesiastical Terms) Christianity any receptacle in which the Eucharistic Host is kept


This out of the way spot happens to be close to an intersection; there are any number of guesses about the stone's purpose but what is known is it was visited annually during perambulations, i.e. boundary beating, and half-pennies were distributed to children here, people actually climbed it to retrieve coins placed on top.

Like any respectable herm and despite its Christianised name, the Batcombe stone was thought of as sinister and the village of Batcombe had its own conjuror, John Minterne. He was of course in league with the Devil and he and his horse managed to leap from Batcombe Hill to the village, in the process toppling a pinnacle from the church tower. He landed safely in a field next to the church of St Mary Magdalene where his horse's hoofprints remain to this day; needless to say nothing can grow there. Minterne and his descendants were blacksmiths and there are several Minterne places in the Dorset badlands. The manor house and estates of nearby Minterne Magna belonged to the Churchill and Digby families.

The trackway from the Cross in Hand site goes south, crossing the River Frome at Muckleford, and runs straight past Winterbourne Abbas to Portesham, on the ridgeway overlooking Chesil Beach and Abbotsbury. Blimey, you could hardly find a more strategic route.

* I doubt Mr Keen read TME as he passed it to the editor of Merry Meet magazine (Dorset folklore) who calls the book 'complete and utter rubbish' and couldn't work out whether it had been sent as a misguided tribute or a calculated insult.
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Re: Megalithic service stations?

Postby Boreades » 5:35 pm

This Batcombe Down's Cross in Hand, as a border cross, and a John Minterne who can leap from hills to a Magdelene church has a very Cornish-Giant flavour to it. I noticed on an OS map that there is "The Friary of St.Francis" a stone's throw to the north as well.

http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/81222
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Re: Megalithic service stations?

Postby Boreades » 9:56 pm

Just found a Really Useful list of Ancient Sites in Dorset

http://www.dorsetinfocus.co.uk/history/historic.php?r=e

This caught my eye: "The Bestwall Archaeological Project has uncovered more than 7,000 years of history at a 55 hectare quarry to the east of Wareham, Dorset"

Hands up anyone who's heard of the Bestwall Quarry Archaeology Project?
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Re: Megalithic service stations?

Postby Stuart » 9:25 am

hvered wrote: The trackway from the Cross in Hand site goes south, crossing the River Frome at Muckleford, and runs straight past Winterbourne Abbas to Portesham, on the ridgeway overlooking Chesil Beach and Abbotsbury. Blimey, you could hardly find a more strategic route.

Just before the ford at Frome the trackway goes across Grimstone Down, part of the ancient manor of Grimstone.

There's a base of a medieval cross close to the remains of an Iron Age site which is called Jackman's Cross, supposedly named for a sheep-stealer called Jackman who was hung here. There is no record of any such person as historians have pointed out; they persist in asking the wrong questions, whether it's true instead of why it's told. Megaliths are often associated with retribution, supernatural or human, particularly in connection with theft.

Jackman isn't in Behind the surname's list of English names, they simply say it means 'a servant of Jack'.
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Re: Megalithic service stations?

Postby hvered » 10:13 am

Why 'servant of' and not simply Jack-man? The name Jack according to wiki 'refers to a man of the common class', an Everyman.

The dictionary meanings of jack, 'lifting heavy objects', and 'taking something illicitly' i.e. thieving, have strong links with megaliths.
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Re: Megalithic service stations?

Postby spiral » 8:35 am

hvered wrote:I looked up pyx and found


I didn't bother looking it up. I just assume it's "pitch" because it's blinking obvious it's a beacon site...
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