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Cerne Abbas

j0_77 13 Mar 99 - 03:09 PM
Philippa 13 Mar 99 - 03:31 PM
j0_77 13 Mar 99 - 03:42 PM
The Shambles 13 Mar 99 - 03:57 PM
Lonesome EJ 13 Mar 99 - 05:39 PM
j0_77 13 Mar 99 - 05:50 PM
Lonesome EJ 13 Mar 99 - 10:59 PM
j0_77 13 Mar 99 - 11:24 PM
Penny 14 Mar 99 - 03:47 AM
The Shambles 14 Mar 99 - 04:36 AM
catspaw49 14 Mar 99 - 05:10 AM
Penny 14 Mar 99 - 09:34 AM
catspaw49 14 Mar 99 - 12:34 PM
Penny 14 Mar 99 - 07:25 PM
Penny 14 Mar 99 - 07:37 PM
Indy Lass 14 Mar 99 - 09:16 PM
Lonesome EJ 14 Mar 99 - 09:44 PM
Penny 15 Mar 99 - 03:49 AM
Bert 16 Mar 99 - 12:42 PM
AlistairUK 16 Mar 99 - 01:01 PM
Barbara 16 Mar 99 - 01:23 PM
The Shambles 16 Mar 99 - 02:22 PM
Bert 16 Mar 99 - 02:39 PM
Penny 16 Mar 99 - 05:58 PM
Penny 16 Mar 99 - 06:18 PM
Lonesome EJ 17 Mar 99 - 02:21 AM
Bert 17 Mar 99 - 08:36 AM
The Shambles 17 Mar 99 - 10:14 AM
AlistairUK 17 Mar 99 - 11:39 AM
Bert 17 Mar 99 - 01:19 PM
The Shambles 17 Mar 99 - 01:51 PM
The Shambles 17 Mar 99 - 02:12 PM
The Shambles 19 May 00 - 03:06 PM
roopoo 19 May 00 - 05:10 PM
Skipjack K8 19 May 00 - 05:13 PM
Penny S. 19 May 00 - 05:14 PM
Lonesome EJ 19 May 00 - 05:19 PM
Penny S. 19 May 00 - 05:29 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 May 00 - 05:45 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 May 00 - 05:48 PM
wildlone 19 May 00 - 06:39 PM
sophocleese 19 May 00 - 08:08 PM
The Shambles 19 May 00 - 08:49 PM
Margaret V 19 May 00 - 10:39 PM
Penny S. 20 May 00 - 05:06 AM
Penny S. 21 May 00 - 11:08 AM
Malcolm Douglas 21 May 00 - 12:18 PM
GUEST,Penny S. 21 May 00 - 03:28 PM
GUEST 21 May 00 - 03:52 PM
GUEST,liz the squeak 21 May 00 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,Penny S. 21 May 00 - 04:04 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 May 00 - 06:06 PM
Peg 22 May 00 - 11:55 AM
Lonesome EJ 22 May 00 - 12:41 PM
Peg 22 May 00 - 12:47 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 May 00 - 12:56 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 May 00 - 12:59 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 May 00 - 01:03 PM
GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere) 22 May 00 - 01:11 PM
Peg 22 May 00 - 01:19 PM
GUEST,Penny S. 22 May 00 - 01:43 PM
Lonesome EJ 22 May 00 - 02:08 PM
GUEST,Penny S. 23 May 00 - 12:40 PM
selby 23 May 00 - 02:10 PM
GUEST,Tracey 24 May 00 - 01:43 PM
GUEST,Hilary in NZ 25 May 00 - 06:49 AM
Penny S. 25 May 00 - 01:45 PM
GUEST,liz the squeak 25 May 00 - 06:08 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 May 00 - 08:38 PM
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Subject: Cerne Abbas
From: j0_77
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 03:09 PM

See English Folk Songs Yes Miss Penny I have been there and seen 'it'. The size is enormous - LOL But there are real people out there with this irregularity. I shudder to think what that may 'really' mean. A great a possibly funny topic. :)


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Philippa
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 03:31 PM

I read that a couple who had had difficulties conceiving made love on the giant's phallus and succeeded in reproducing. English National Heritage was worried that others might follow suit. Certainly song material.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: j0_77
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 03:42 PM

Used live near by - lots of witches used to hang out in that place. It was wild in those days - all kinds of interesting people - artists writers muscians and poets etc., The locals made it pay too (LOL) I cannot here list all the links but there are connections to very strange phenomena as well. See Art Bell's site.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 03:57 PM

For an view of the offending member, Click Here


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 05:39 PM

Hey jo77...did Penny really bring up the Cerne Abbas Giant?Well...Goodness Gracious!! One of my favorite sites in England, actually. I really enjoyed watching the faces of the elderly tourists as they stopped to take a gander. "Oh, my, Reginald! Beastly impressive, isn't it!"


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: j0_77
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 05:50 PM

Yes, but pulease note we were talking about 'chalk' sites in that case - the Uffington White Horse Oxfordshire.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 10:59 PM

jo77..I realize the discussion was clearly around chalk figures, and not directed toward the realm of the naughty.Penny has made her feelings clear in that regard, and I was merely, as they say, joshin' her.

The history of the figure is somewhat unclear. Some claim that it was the image of a rather disreputable local clergyman who was forced to vacate the area, and that the figure depicts him hitting the road. There is also a strong argument that the figure is of Romano-British origin, and depicts Hercules holding a club in his right hand, with a rabbit (now covered with turf) in his left. Excavation of the figure along with aerial photographs seem to uphold the second theory. The Uffington White Horse seems to be of greater antiquity, a similar image being found on pre-roman celtic coins...LEJ


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: j0_77
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 11:24 PM

Yeah sounds kida familiar - not been out there for a looong time - somehow I think the Cerne thing is way older than Roman. Still have to ask Penny bout it - has the books and libraries there I don't any here. Nonetheless a very interesting subject.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Penny
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 03:47 AM

There's an idea that the old chalk figures were representations of constellations, possibly related to their position in the sky at certain times. The identifications I've seen are that "The Long Man of Wilmington" is Orion, Uffington is Taurus, and Cerne is Hercules. The trouble with this is that it's not easy to be sure that our ancestors saw the sky in the same way as we do, or that the people of these islands used the same interpretations as the Middle East. If they do represent star patterns, they are more likely to be obvious ones. The only one I'm convinced by is Wilmington, which has the geometry of the central seven stars of Orion. Given that Uffington is in an area long associated with horse rearing, and that Taurus faces the opposite way and is the wrong shape, the identification seems forced. Bulls, I would expect to be shown as more bulky, less speedy. If you look at star maps, you might find that Virgo looks more like the Horse, and it is possible to map the two roughly together. The Celtic goddess Epona had an equine manifestation, so such an identification is not wholly impossible. My mother objected to Orion for Wilmington, on the grounds that it had no sword. This is not an objection that could be raised in the case of Cerne, which is more like the geometry of the extended Orion than that of Hercules, in any case a faint constellation, especially if that object in his left hand is included. Just because the Romans thought that the figure resembled Hercules, doesn't mean that that was an earlier astronomical identity, if ther was one. I gather that morris is danced there on May Day. This is, interestingly, about the time when Orion sets just after sunset, the time when it ceases to be visible at all, & could be seen as going to the underworld. He reappears in the morning sky in August, appropriate for a god of vegetation. I'm not being precise, but it still works in the past with regard to harvests.(When I saw the Egyptian identification with Osiris, and how they saw the sword, I thought that it was a nice resonance with reality, where the sword is the seedbed of new stars.) These are only my ideas, by the way, though an astronomer friend regards them as being within the bounds of possibility. Nothing like this can be proved one way or the other.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 04:36 AM

Thank you for all this Penny, it has all been thought prevoking, which is one of the reasons The Mudcat is so attractive to me. A very warm welcome to you.

I only live a few miles away from the giant and having seen it often am not convinced of it's antiquity. If you compare it to the Uffington cutting, which is a wonderful design, the giant just seems very crude and I don't mean just the phallus.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: catspaw49
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 05:10 AM

From me too......Thank you Penny, I believe you'll fit right in around here.

I've been sailing for 40+ years and celestial navigation was fun to learn,,,BUT...I must confess that never in my life have I been able to see ANYTHING in the stars. I've a good imagination, but truthfully I can only identify things up there from memory and not because it looks like a swan, bear, archer, or whatever. If you pointed out a star pattern and told me it was Hermie the Bagelmaker, I'd just file it away. Always wished I could see that stuff, but.............

Now the Big Schlong etching I can see...but as I know Penny, you are often offended by my sense of humor, I'll belay all comment this time as a special "Welcome to Mudcat" dispensation......You could start a thread though to compliment all the other Mudcateer personal info threads..."How is a Mudcateer equipped?" Male or Female, it would be ..........OOPS, Sorry, I was about to get started there......

catspaw, the Pure of Thought


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Penny
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 09:34 AM

PLEASE don't get me wrong: this is not a matter of being offended, just something I do not choose to participate in, for number of reasons. Get on with your own sense of humour, which I know is a major strand in folk, don't mind me, just don't expect me to join in.

There's a discussion of Cerne as being early in Stonehenge, Neolithic Man and the Cosmos, by John North, Harper Collins, 1996. He gives a thirteenth century reference to a god Helith in the vicinity and cites Stuart Piggot for a Roman origin. Some of his arguments seem a little laboured, and I think his attempt to relate the gradient of the hill slopes of chalk figures as a marker of the identity of the designers ignores the way that slopes form in a common material.

If it was cut recently, and I don't discount this, it might be an idea to investigate the sort of people who were the major landowner in the area during the suspect period, and see if any of them were likely to do such a thing. Someone like that mad Sussex man Jack (whose surname I forget, who was forever building follies and buried standing), with an interest in antiquities and a Helllfire Club sort of sense of humour. Although the obvious references to it are recent, they are of it pre-existing, not of its having appeared, and it's hard to believe no-one would have commented on it, or a later generation, knowing its origins, feeling it fair game for destruction. You might expect the local Methodists or other Non-Conformists to have very strong opinions about it, if it were new. Those sort of churches have meetings with minutes, often now in county archives. I agree on the crudeness. It certainly doesn't have the same sort of artistic sense as Uffington, or the technical drawing skill of Wilmington.

catspaw49, you know about celestial navigation? So presumably spherical geometry and great circles? I read recently that if a line was projected from the Great Pyramid from its SE to NW diagonal on across the globe, it would arrive at Stonehenge. I just had to try it out with a bit of string and a globe, which put it in the general area, but also disclosed some very interesting geological patterns both SE of Egypt and on the way the Britain, which could be even more interesting if followed into the Atlantic, which I couldn't do. Where could I find out how to calculate a great circle? Or what do you think?


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: catspaw49
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 12:34 PM

Hi Penny,

Since you asked, great circle plotting is no more than translating global curvature to flat maps and since you are using a globe, you basically have the "circle" already. Also, a lot of modern charts are drawn compensated for curvature ( and believe me it pays to check which you're using first!!!) to simplify waypoint plotting.

If you're interested in celestial navigation, there are 2 books almost every sailor owns that are the bibles: Dutton's "Celestial Navigation" and Chapman's "Piloting and Navigation." I'm sure both are in any reasonable library.

catspaw


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Penny
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 07:25 PM

You wouldn't believe the error margin on the globe I've got, but thanks for the bibliography.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Penny
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 07:37 PM

Back to Cerne - I can't help thinking that if it were of 16th, 17th or 18th century origin, there would be a folk song about it, with a cleaned up version in the National Song Book, and Mudcat discussions about the sources for older words closer to the original. For there to be silence argues the sort of cover-up Nixon could only dream of. One thing that was clear from reading up the Peasant's Revolt was the level of communication in 1381, among a population depleted from the Black Death, and it wouldn't have been less when the population rose again. Can't you imagine the young farmers on market day, saying to their mates from the other side of the market town "You'll never guess what we've been and done"? Something along the lines of the Derby Ram, I would imagine coming out of it.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Indy Lass
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 09:16 PM

Having read some of Morgan Llywelyn's books, the image reminds me of the way she described the Celts (of antiquity) in full-battle "tilt." This would have been how they would "dress" themselves to intimidate their enemies.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 09:44 PM

It would certainly reduce their enemies to a state of envy! There must be a connection with fertility ritual that justifies the Giants most prominent feature.Is the figure of Hercules associated with fertility in addition to his other heroic attributes? Maybe Penny knows this.

Also, to Penny...are you familiar with a current theory that holds that the chain of three Great Pyramids in Giza is a duplication of the Orion belt configuration? And that the Sphinx indicates the rising point of the Leo constellation?


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Penny
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 03:49 AM

Yup. Don't know how much credence to place on it, though. The geometry is a good match. But then, if they are looked at from the point of the local lay of the land, they lie where they need to from the point of view of lying along the scarp. Like British barrows. But that could be a convenient coincidence allowing a stellar plan. The program I saw had found other pyramids matching two other stars of Orion, but not the brightest. I would be FULLY convinced if something turned up where the sword should be, or Sirius. Mind you, it does seem a lot of effort for a planetarium!


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Bert
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 12:42 PM

"How is a Mudcateer equipped?" I would mention a song but Barbara would scold me.

Max is currently working on a program that will allow us to cross reference threads. It is going to take a lot of work so don't expect anything too soon.

The reason I say this is because I've got about three threads mixed up in my mind here. This one, The Peasant's Revolt talk weve been having and the Food Songs thread.
On the road from London to Southend, just past Rayleigh, there is a hill called 'Bread and Cheese Hill'.
There are two theories as to the origin of the name.
One: it was named from the hawthorn trees that grow there. 'Bread and cheese' being a folk name for the hawthorn tree. Children in England eat the young leaves.

Two: It was named during the Peasant's revolt. The serfs, whose working conditions were deteriorating, put some of the blame on the Flemish weavers. (The immigrants are taking all the best jobs)
Supposedly, they set up a checkpoint there and made everyone who wanted to pass say 'bread and cheese'. If they pronounced it correctly they could go, but if they said 'brot und chiss' they would be killed on the spot.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: AlistairUK
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 01:01 PM

I originally come from Luton in Bedfordshire, England. And when I was a wee lad and a boy scout we used to go to a Hill nearby at Whipsnade and help redifine the white lines on a chalk figure of a lion there. No celtic connection, no star maps it was just there to show that Whipsnade zoo (an annex of London Zoo) was round about.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Barbara
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 01:23 PM

Bert's song, of which he is so proud, is called "Size Doesn't Matter (but it does)". Perhaps he is afraid of overidentifying with it? You can find it with a forum search, or perhaps Bert will post us a link. (Pictures this time, please, Bert).
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 02:22 PM

On the subject of bread a cheese.

There may be another reason for the name, or at least a link to it. We have a bunting called The Yellowhammer that has a song that is discribed as sounding like the phrase 'a little bit of bread and no cheese'.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Bert
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 02:39 PM

BARBARA!!! Pictures of WHAT!!!

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Penny
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 05:58 PM

Two further bits of Cerne stuff, from a book called "Gods and Graven Images" by Paul Newman (really?) He includes, I should think, every hill figure in England (including Whipsnade) and some that don't exist. He has a long discussion of the Giant, coming to the conclusion that it was Nodens, the same Celtic god with a healing shrine at Lydney. He also points out that the figure indicates May Day sunrise (don't ask me - figure it out for yourselves!), which would suggest that it wasn't recent. Also Nodens should have a dog, dogs being associated with his cult at Lydney, and, lo and behold, crop marks reveal a sort of Scottie shaped figure, about as big as a Shetland pony, relative to the giant, alongside him. What Newman does not notice is that this pooch is exactly in the right place, relative to the giant, for Canis Major, if the Giant was Orion. Perhaps the Celts saw Nodens in the sky in that constellation. Perhaps people just like scraping chalk hills.

I don't know about cross-referencing threads here, it's happening to me off line as well. I go to the library and find details of the revolt, including an attack on nearby Lesness Abbey, return home and am phoned by a friend about a geological field trip to Lesness Abbey. We start discussing the denns, I mention Rolvenden, and I go to a course to be addressed by a teacher from Rolvenden. This is worrying.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Penny
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 06:18 PM

It has just struck me, there is something very odd about this site. I'm using a filtered computer (the service provider is run by an educational concern), and it won't even let me in to an academic site with a list of references to Ancient Egyptian Women. How come I'm here? Not that I'm complaining, and I sure hope they don't find out!


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 02:21 AM

Penny-it was purely fate that brought you here. Be Forewarned though. Escape is nearly impossible.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Bert
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 08:36 AM

AlistairUK,

So you come from Luton Eh!
One time I used to have an ice cream round (for Tonibell) in Dunstable.

It's a small world guy.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 10:14 AM

Antipodeon connection now. Did either of you guys ever see any wallabies in the wild in that area? They escaped from captivity and were once quite a lot of them, don't know how they are fairing now though.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: AlistairUK
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 11:39 AM

Bert: Did you ever get round to Lewsey Farm just over the border?

Shambles: yup some that had escaped from the afforementioned Whipsnade Zoo


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Bert
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 01:19 PM

AlistairUK,

Lewsey farm? I don't think so.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 01:51 PM

Penny

It is very spooky as you say. I tuned on the TV today and there and behold in all his glory was the Giant. It was on the BBCs local history hour.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 02:12 PM

Oh and I nearly forgot the end scenes of the episode of 'Men Behaving Badly' shown last night (Tuesday), had our heroes rolling down the poor old Giant.

Spooky or what?


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 May 00 - 03:06 PM

The above link to the picture of the offending member, does not seem to work now.

This one should work


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: roopoo
Date: 19 May 00 - 05:10 PM

Funny this thread should reappear just after the article a day or two ago in my newspaper (Independent) that the giant is now thought to be 17th century, there being no actual mention of it in any documentation before then. The latest theory is that it is a caracature of Oliver Cromwell who was styled "Hercules" by his followers, and the other "weapon" in evidence being a reference to the local landowner's (not a Parliamentarian) opinion of what he had done to the country, and also what Cromwell had done to him personally. (I believe jail was mentioned). If I remember aright they were also expressing some doubt about the age of the Long Man of Wilmington.

Hmmm!

mouldy


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 19 May 00 - 05:13 PM

Penny, have you seen the 'ley lines' thread that was knocking about last November. Don't talk html so can't give you the blue clicky thing, but a search will find it. I remember it well as it was my maiden mudcat voyage.

All the best

Skipjack K8


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Penny S.
Date: 19 May 00 - 05:14 PM

In the media this week has been an item claiming that the giant was commissioned by a local landowner Sir Denzil (Holles?) who loathed Cromwell, and did it in despite of him. There was an identification of Oliver with Hercules, for some reason. I've only heard it on the radio, so can't give details. I thought this thread had reappeared because of the report!

Penny


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 19 May 00 - 05:19 PM

So it may be that the Uffington White Horse may be the only really ancient piece of hill sculpture? Or has that been connected to some 17th Century Baron?


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Penny S.
Date: 19 May 00 - 05:29 PM

I've just been running a search for the giant on the google search engine - there's a lot of good references - try this one

http://www.unc.edu/~debest/monster/cerne.htm

Giantkiller Strikes Again! -


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 May 00 - 05:45 PM

I think the Wallabies of Whipsnade didn't make it through a hard winter a few years back. (I mean the ones that escaped.) Marsupials (apart from possums) seem to have problems competing with placental mammals, which is why there are so many rabbits in Australia, Not to mention humans.

Are there any chalk giants anywhere else, outside England?


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 May 00 - 05:48 PM

Oh yes - click here for Chesterton's Ballad of the White Horse>/a>


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: wildlone
Date: 19 May 00 - 06:39 PM

A lot of the land around Cerne is owned by the Digby family who also owned Sherborne Castle.
The Digby family suported the King during the great rebellion and after Sherborne Castle fell to the forces of Parliment Cromwell asked that it be slighted, and it was.
BTW the Cerne giant is no more than the likeness of a local tailor with his scissors in his lap,well that is what the local mothers told the children when asked.
dave from Sherborne.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: sophocleese
Date: 19 May 00 - 08:08 PM

Is it any coincidence that this thread came up after three threads about breasts?

I have an uncle living near Whipsnade. I remember, as a child, visiting and hearing wolves howling in the night. The next morning I looked out the window and saw wallabies. Maybe they were ventriloquists.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 May 00 - 08:49 PM

There is an island in Loch Lomand where you can find said marsupials. But don't tell anyone.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Margaret V
Date: 19 May 00 - 10:39 PM

I saw the Cerne Abbas giant in the mid-eighties, and found it a memorable part of my journey through that part of England! Just recently I read a really fantastic poem by Dylan Thomas called "In the White Giant's Thigh," and have assumed it's in reference to the Cerne Abbas giant; there's no other chalk giant, is there? In it he refers to the practice of barren women seeking to gain fertility via the giant (see Philippa's post above). It's an unbelievably rich poem, go to the library and find it! Margaret


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Penny S.
Date: 20 May 00 - 05:06 AM

There is the Long Man of Wilmington, but Thomas is clearly not referring to him.

Interesting point McGrath. There's chalk in Ireland, and Denmark and France, and even in Western Australia, so there are other possible locations. It's possible that the hill slopes aren't steep enough because of a different erosion history. Has anyone looked for evidence?

Penny


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Penny S.
Date: 21 May 00 - 11:08 AM

An update with references. The BBC history magazine has a review of a book "The Cerne Giant: an antiquity on trial" Oxbow Books 1999, from Bournemouth University. The perpetrator is claimed to be MP Denzil Holles, originally one of the 5 whom Charles I tried to arrest, but later an enemy of Cromwell. A 1751 "History of Dorset" by the Rev. John Hutchens attributes the giant to Holles, who owned the hillside through his second wife's dowry. Katherine Barker of Bournemouth sees the image as an allegorical 17th century political cartoon, and appropriate to that period. Cromwell had been portrayed as Hercules by his admirers, the club could represent oppressive rule, and the other obvious feature a reference to Puritanism.

I'm not so sure about the latter - did the 17th century see puritanism as so much to do with sexual repression as we do? And is it an appropriate jibe against Cromwell?

Also, the joke would not have worked if it were kept private, and once public, surely Cromwell's supporters would have razed it, or obliterated it somehow.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 May 00 - 12:18 PM

Chalk figures have to be cleaned up fairly regularly to deal with erosion and overgrowth; it seems that the Giant was not always so well-endowed as he is today.  Archaeologist Leslie Grinsell determined that, in the course of one such cleaning-up exercise, the Giant's navel "became incorporated into his private parts, resulting in an upwards extension of between five and six feet"(!)

A Guardian article by Bryan Silcock, from which I learned this (date forgotten) goes on to say: "Grinsell thinks the amalgamation was probably accomplished during a major restoration carried out for Queen Victoria's jubilee in 1887 (her reaction, if any, is not recorded.)  He suggests that it might have been done deliberately by the local inhabitants to provoke their vicar, who had complained of an earlier cleaning that it might corrupt their morals.  He had, according to an account published soon afterwards, "put an end to these scourings".  It seems more likely, however, that the change was simply a mistake.  The vicar's ban could have led to the giant's outline, cut through the turf to expose the chalk underneath, becoming overgrown and difficult to trace precisely."

So far as literary spin-offs go, there's a novel by Penelope Shuttle, The Mirror of the Giant, which is entertaining if frankly bizarre.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: GUEST,Penny S.
Date: 21 May 00 - 03:28 PM

There should be traces of previous scourings, as there were with Uffington, so archaeology/geophysics should be used with the historical evidence. And there is another possibility - 17th century scurrilous additions to an earlier figure?

Penny


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: GUEST
Date: 21 May 00 - 03:52 PM

There was a scouring (the act of cleaning up the chalk lines, removing grass and weeds that grow up over the outlines) in Victorian times that only did the outer lines and respectable features - they refused to scour the willy, thus bowdlerising him.... When it was scoured again, about 50 years later, they put the willy back in, but it is possible that they made it a little bit bigger........, there is a school of thought that suggests a belly button that was "resting" on the top of the er..... willy, which became part of it instead.

The long man of Wilmington has no features and has been referred to as the hill skier.... Saw him yesterday, he really needs a scour, or else he will vanish. He isn't half as big or impressive as my mate at Cerne...

And did anyone who lived there/nearby ever go to a pub called the New Inn? 'Twas there I started my working career, back in 1979/1980. Ah, those were the days!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: GUEST,liz the squeak
Date: 21 May 00 - 04:02 PM

hey, where did my label go? I dunno, you go away for a week with no access, and before you know it, some rotten so and so has nicked your name! That last guest was ME!!!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: GUEST,Penny S.
Date: 21 May 00 - 04:04 PM

I think the Long Man is now tiled with white bricks! I remember as a child looking out for him as we drove to visit our Sussex relations. He was somehow "other".

Penny


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 May 00 - 06:06 PM

Oh Penny - that is a horrible vision - a chalk giant tiled with white bricks. There is something fundamentally evil about it.

The essential thing about a chalk giant is that it has to be renewed for ever if it is to stay the same. And that is a powerful and moving image. It's the truth that lies behind what I think is the lie which is being purveyed when politicians and others talk about "the need to embrace change", and so forth, almost as if the type of change didn't matter. What there is in all things is a constant need for renewal, and that is not the same thing at all.

This is the key image in The Ballad of the White Horse which I linked to earlier.

And all the while on White Horse Hill
The horse lay long and wan,
The turf crawled and the fungus crept,
And the little sorrel, while all men slept,
Unwrought the work of man.

With velvet finger, velvet foot,
The fierce soft mosses then
Crept on the large white commonweal
All folk had striven to strip and peel,
And the grass, like a great green witch's wheel,
Unwound the toils of men.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Peg
Date: 22 May 00 - 11:55 AM

re: astrological imagery in Celtic sacred sites and hill figures: there is a very interesting book on this subject from the 1970s called "The Glastonbury Zodiac." I believe it is out of print but I have seen it is bookstores occasionally...the basic premise is that there is a circle/wheel shaped imprimatur/map composed of twelve sacred sites whose images suggest they are connected to the now-familiar western zodiac...as to which came first??? I have only skimmed this book so I don't know what the last word is...I almost bought it at a local new age bookstore not long ago, they may still have a copy...

also there is a new book out on the subject of hill figures called "The Lost Gods of Albion"

peg


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 22 May 00 - 12:41 PM

Villagers in Uffington apparently celebrated a yearly ritual of cleaning and preserving the White Horse. This took the form of a festival, and was known since ancient times as "The Uffington Pastime", according to Arthur C Clarke.

The sight of the White Horse is really quite breathtaking. For those who haven't seen it, it is a minimalist rendering of a horses shape, in lines reminiscent of pre-Roman Celtic designs. Clarke, in his Mysterious World ,shows a photo of a roman coin bearing the likeness of the White Horse, so it is quite likely that it is at least 1700 years old.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Peg
Date: 22 May 00 - 12:47 PM

by the way...I am planning to get the White Horse tattooed (in dark blue or green ink) on my shoulder this summer...I have no other tattoos and thought long and hard abotu what symbols had sufficient spiritual meaning for me that I would always treasure their presence on my body...the White Horse was the first thing I thought of and after considering others (the triple horse spiral, Cerne Abbas, the newgrange spiral, or a simple band of knotwork) decided on my first choice.

I have been to the site in Uffington, it is lovely there, and I will be visiting it again next month.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 May 00 - 12:56 PM

This gives a lot of information about the White Horse of Uffington and the tradition of scouring it


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 May 00 - 12:59 PM

I'll get it right this time:

This gives a lot of information about the White Horse of Uffington and the tradition of scouring it


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 May 00 - 01:03 PM

Third time lucky - I can't get the blue clicky to work, so here is the URL naked and unmashamed:

http://www.geocities.com/Paris/Rue/1896/horse.html - still giving a lot of information about the White Horse of Uffington and the tradition of scouring it


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere)
Date: 22 May 00 - 01:11 PM

Peg, I've got the Maltwood book, and read it some time back. I know that there are supposedly zodiacs elsewhere in Britain as well (no, not where I am at the moment).

My feeling is, based on the following, that the idea probably is supporting more than it can, that it is a sort of Tay Bridge hypothesis.

1.That the inhabitants of this island, at the time required, could not be shown to have the same sky patterns as the Middle East. Other areas see the sky differently, so it's unlikely that they were the same. I know Maltwood makes some variations, but they don't seem to be based on looking at the sky first, which they would need to be.

2.Some of the patterns depend on field and ditch patterns which postdate antiquity - perhaps being as recent as the 17th century. They are to do with the major drainage of that period - very straight-lined, not following natural features, or related to known ancient settlements.

3.Some of the areas would have been under water at the required time.

4.Britain has a vast plethora of ancient and not so ancient features which could be used to plot out patterns anywhere you wanted. I have tried various patterns in various places, through the process, I will draw a (insert geometric pattern, animal image, whatever) around (insert whatever placename comes to mind), and succeeded, sometimes with better results than Maltwood. Some of these successes may not be entirely random, so I will have to try again, randomising the process better, and I am certainly not telling anyone what I found, in case it starts off a wild goose chase. OK, may be I'll try that. A wild goose around or near, Harrogate. (First British placename found in a book I happened to open).

5. The human brain is designed to find patterns in its surroundings, and make sense of very few clues. See :) for confirmation. Smother it in the information on a map and it will attempt to simplify it by turning it into pictures. That's why there are constellations in the first place.

Those things being said, I wouldn't want to rule out that there might be, in some place or other, some representation of something or other that might be somewhere up in the sky. But we're more likely to find it by getting a good star map that accounts for the apparent curvature of the sky, removing all the lines that outline the constellations, making sure that it only shows the stars which could be seen by the naked eye in the place and time under consideration, and then looking for the really obvious patterns. Orion (see above), the Plough (Big Dipper), and Cassiopeia are strong candidates, as is Cygnus, and in some places and times, the Southern Cross. Some of the zodiac signs are really hard to distinguish. Then see if any of these patterns fit with anything the locals might have wanted to know, like times of harvest, or floods or whatever, and finally, remember that Britain is not a good place for astronomy, and given the fertility of the past, wasn't any better then. Like Ireland - we are green because we are wet - clouds rule the British skies, not the constellations.

I remain to be convinced.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Peg
Date: 22 May 00 - 01:19 PM

Penny; very good points regarding the saturation of the British Isles with sacred sites, so dense with them almost any pattern could be superimposed upon a map and found to have a correspondence or similar outline... also that the human mind, particularly where magical/mystical subjects converge, has a way of being happily convinced when such ideas strike the fancy and engage the synapses and quicken the heart...I am fascinated by where such ideas germinate, how they evolve from their starting point...and of course, how they are debunked or improved upon...

See the earlier "Pagan stuff" thread for much heated and tepid discussion of archeology, pseudo-history and Neo-pagan scholarship (or lack thereof)...

I remain a pagan bibliophile and practicing amateur astrologer, in any case! (solar cusp, Libra/Scorpio, Capricorn Moon, Capricorn rising, Neptune/Venus conjunct in Scorpio). Your insights on this have been very interesting (as have those of many others on all these topics; it tickles me that such subjects are the cause of such passion for so many Mudcatters!)

peg


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: GUEST,Penny S.
Date: 22 May 00 - 01:43 PM

I wouldn't rule out that any individual might not see something in a moment of vision which spoke to them, and would be grounded in what they knew about, and that must have happened in the past as much as it happens now with ley lines and zodiacs. And visionaries may have recorded what they saw by markers in the landscape. But there's little proof of anything, more's the pity.

There was a very convincing television program recently about a valley in South America and representations of their star figures in the landscape. Or at least, it was convincing until they found an image representing Saturn as an old Eurpean type of man with a long beard. I wouldn't rule out that the odd European might not have washed up there before anyone recorded in history, but I find it unlikely that he would have influenced their astronomy so greatly.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 22 May 00 - 02:08 PM

McGrath's link White Horse


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: GUEST,Penny S.
Date: 23 May 00 - 12:40 PM

No luck so far on the landscape image - very interesting area though. One possible, but it failed on size grounds, had its bill in Menwith Hill. Lots of other birdy shapes, but nothing especially gooselike. But my map has Harrogate in the corner!

Penny


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: selby
Date: 23 May 00 - 02:10 PM

Tim Laycock did a great song about the Giant at Cerne. The album sleeve was the said giant but I cant remember the album name Keith


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: GUEST,Tracey
Date: 24 May 00 - 01:43 PM

For those worrying about the Gian't bing filled in with brick - don't worry, it's only a rumour. I was there last year, and saw some film of him very recently, and I'm sure he's still resplendent in all his chalky glory, without the least little bit of brick. The connection with fertility is definitely there, though - it's an old custom, still going on (covertly - the landowners don't approve, apparently due to possible erosion!)today, to make love on the Giant's manhood to aid conception. Especially effective at the Equinoxes, I'm told.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: GUEST,Hilary in NZ
Date: 25 May 00 - 06:49 AM

what was that about the Giant having a little bit of brick?!? to whoever that was a while ago - yes we dined at the New Inn in Cerne Abbas last month when we were over there - was recommended in the Good Pub Guide. Or maybe it was the Royal Oak...damn fine pub anyway. As for the Giant - my 12 year old daughter (an impressionable age) now thinks all the English are perverts for carving huge members on their hillsides. While I'm here, there are no chalk carvings in the antipodes that I'm aware of, but apparently there's a bloody big kiwi carved in a hill somewhere around Avebury - we couldn't find it. Beats stupid wallaby ventrilloquists anyway.


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: Penny S.
Date: 25 May 00 - 01:45 PM

Its the Wilmington Long Man in Sussex that's been bricked.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: GUEST,liz the squeak
Date: 25 May 00 - 06:08 PM

Seen the Kiwi - it is a bit grubby now because it's not been scoured for a while, but still there. I stopped working in the New Inn in 1982..... the Royal Oak is the one at a fork in the road, the New Inn has a big drive in car park, and a U shaped room around a central bar. Lots of old country 'accessories' around, like gin traps (for catching rabbits, not gin, although there are a few Americans who think otherwise.... sorry, I was young and silly, they were old and stupid.....) and a big garden at the top of the yard.

Several years ago there was a request to cut another figure on the opposite hill to sort of even it up a bit... The chosen icon was the famous 'wind up the skirt' shot of Marylin Munroe. It was marked out in white paint, but it was decided that because it was a full sillhouette and not an outline, it wouldn't be in keeping with the 'ambience' of the area. And no one would contemplate doing a pair of bristols 60ft across........

LTS


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Subject: RE: Cerne Abbas
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 May 00 - 08:38 PM

"And no one would contemplate doing a pair of bristols 60ft across........"

I think there's a few around the Mudcat might...


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