hill figures

hill figures
   Certain steep chalk hills in southern England carry figures made by cutting away turf and topsoil, visible for miles. They can be either outline drawings, or figures solidly blocked out; they need regular maintenance to prevent the return of grass, which was often undertaken communally, and accompanied by festivity.
   The oldest are the White Horse of Uffing-ton, the *Cerne Abbas Giant, and the Long Man of *Wilmington, the first being definitely pre-Christian, and the others arguably so (see individual entries). From the later medieval, Tudor, and Stuart periods there are references to four more giants, now lost (see *Gogmagog); a medieval date is also possible for the lost Red Horse of Tysoe (Warwickshire) and a cross at Whiteleaf (Buckinghamshire). In the 18th and 19th centuries new figures were cut on the orders of landowners and clergy, intent on embellishing the landscape, or as pranks by young men of the same class; the majority were horses, of which sixteen survived when Morris Marples wrote in 1949, and the rest crosses. Twentieth-century designs are varied: there are regimental badges in Wiltshire dating from the First World War; a crown was cut near Wye in Kent in 1902, and an aeroplane near Dover in 1909, to mark Bleriot's cross-Channel flight.
   ■ For descriptions and documentary evidence, see Mar-ples, 1949, though its archaeology needs updating. Paul Newman's Lost Gods of Albion (1997), has up-to-date archaeology, but includes far-fetched theories, and inaccurate assertions about mythology and folklore.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hill figure — The Long Man of Wilmington situated on the South Downs, Sussex A hill figure is a large visual representation created by cutting into a steep hillside and revealing the underlying geology. It is a type of geoglyph usually designed to be seen from …   Wikipedia

  • Mormond Hill — and its antenna Aerial masts on Mormond Hill Mormond H …   Wikipedia

  • List of Silent Hill monsters — The following is a list of monsters in the video game series Silent Hill . Silent Hill (1999)Common enemies*Air Screamer Pterodactyl like creatures that fly close to the ground surface and travel around in packs. They tend to linger around areas… …   Wikipedia

  • Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls — Clifton Hill is one of the major tourist promenades in Niagara Falls, Ontario. The street, close in proximity to Niagara Falls and the Niagara River, leads from River Road on the Niagara Parkway to intersect with Victoria Avenue. The street… …   Wikipedia

  • Betty and Barney Hill abduction — Betty and Barney Hill were an American married couple who rose to fame after they claimed to have been abducted by extraterrestrials on September 19 20, 1961. The couple s widely publicized story, commonly called the Hill Abduction, and… …   Wikipedia

  • Notting Hill Carnival — Participant in the Notting Hill Carnival parade The Notting Hill Carnival is an annual event which since 1964 has taken place on the streets of Notting Hill, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea , London, UK each August, over two days (the… …   Wikipedia

  • Laurel Hill Cemetery — Infobox nrhp | name =Laurel Hill Cemetery nrhp type =nhl caption = location= 3822 Ridge Ave., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania locmapin = Pennsylvania area = built =1836 architect= John Notman et al. architecture= Exotic Revival, Gothic, Classical… …   Wikipedia

  • John Hill & Company — or Johillco were a British toy company specialising in the manufacture of hollowcast metal and later plastic toy soldiers becoming second to W. Britain in popularity. No one knows where the name of John Hill came from. HistoryJohn Hill Co was… …   Wikipedia

  • Maple Hill Cemetery (Huntsville, Alabama) — Maple Hill Cemetery. Maple Hill Cemetery is the oldest and largest cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama. Founded on two acres (8,000 m²) in about the year 1822, it now encompasses nearly 100 acres (400,000 m²) and contains over 80,000 burials.… …   Wikipedia

  • Moot hill — A moot hill or mons placiti (statute hill)[1] is a hill or mound historically used as an assembly or meeting place. In early medieval Britain, such hills were used for moots , meetings of local people to settle local business. Among other things …   Wikipedia