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Eddie View Drop Down
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Joined: 11 January 2005
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Gold Hill
    Posted: 13 January 2005 at 4:00pm

I stumbled across this and thought it was interesting---

    Toot hill names are derived from Old English totian = to look out, peep, or watch. They were hills resorted to in times of danger from which men tooted, or kept watch. They seem to go back to the Anglo Saxon period and represent lookouts for Danish raiding parties (see Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names). The London suburb of Tooting is one example, and Tottenham. Alfred Watkins noted this connection, and likewise names with the element dod, but the latter is not certain. The dictionary suggests a connection with a personal name, something like dodda or dudda. Hence, 'dodda's hill' for Dodderhill. The kind of criticism levelled at Ley Hunters is exemplified in a proposed Ley Line a few miles from where I live. It is located at Gerrards Cross in Buckinghamshire, an upmarket dormitory for London commuters. It begins at The Camp, an Iron Age hill fort, and leads upwards to the top of what is known as Gold Hill, in Chalfont St Peter. It passes over an ancient cross roads, now marked by the junction of Bull Lane with the main A40 road from London to Oxford, and the Bull Inn. It appears to be the root of the name of Gerrards Cross (roads). At the top of the hill there was a medieval priory, dismantled in the reign of Henry VIII, and a common on which an annual fair and gathering took place. Several annual fairs still take place there, at different times of the year. These have origins in the Middle Ages. The Catholic Church still has a presence there too, in the Holy Cross school, and a church of recent origin. More interesting is a story an elderly lady of substance, who had lived on Bull Lane for a considerable number of years, told me. She said that there was a local legend that in the Celtic period bulls were run between The Camp and Gold Hill at a certain time of the year, unspecified, with lighted torches between their horns. This kind of legend and local lore is an added bonus as it is known that the Anglo Saxons did not settle in some parts of the Chilterns because the land was marginal, and well defended. The indigenous population apparently remained there undisturbed. The soils around Gerrards Cross contain a lot of river gravel and what is known in the building trade as hoggin, a mixture of pebbles in thick clay. Hence, it is feasible that a Celtic festival or gathering continued to take place on Gold Hill into the 8th or 9th century AD, as an example, eventually absorbed by the Church. It would then have been lost in the Reformation, surviving as an annual fair. Possibly. A critic of Ley Lines might begin by noting that Bull Lane is anything but straight. It clearly follows what once had been field boundaries, making several sharp, almost rightangle turns. This feature however only dates back to the Enclosures and the line of Bull Lane of previous times has been lost. It may survive, in part, by a very straight footpath, carrying on when the road at one point turns abruptly to the right. A second point of criticism would undoubtedly involve the idea of an Iron Age hill fort in an alignment with a suspected Neolithic Period moot hill, which is conjectural; a fire festival; a Christian priory; and a modern funfair and outing. They are each of them separated by a thousand years or so. Churches on Ley Lines have led to a great amount of criticism that common-sense dictates must be taken into account. We have no way of knowing, due to lack of excavation, if the The Camp was occupied earlier than the Iron Age. I have purposely ignored the fact the line could be extended a bit further to include a Templar manor house and moat, and a church in the village of Fulmer, as both of these are too recent and we have no way of knowing what might have occupied those sites previously, if anything. There are some tumuli beyond Chalfont St Peter village, separated from Gold Hill by the valley of the river Misbourne. Chalfont itself is derived from Latin fanta, referring to the springs in the area, but the etymology of Gold Hill is unknown. Some local historians have suggested it referred to the yellow blossom of gorse that may once have grown on the common but the term could equally apply to an object of veneration in prehistoric times, a golden goddess or glorious object in the sky. Possibly the Sun. There is another steep hill known as Glory Hill a few miles to the west, alongside the A40 road. At the bottom of the hill was a famous paper mill known as Glory Mill. It is now closed. I can vaguely remember reading about the legend of the running bulls in a book by Harold Bayley who wrote a number of extremely controversial books on myth and folklore in the early part of the 20th century. As I got hold of the book from the Public Library, and did not make a note of the title, I can't say which particular one of his many titles it was. Finally, there is the word fair and its etymology. It may have a connection with fairy, and a Celtic root that might imply bright, as in fair. This indicates fairies might have originally been small lights, along the lines that Leprechauns were originally small bits of Lugh, a very bright god.

(from http://leylines.members.beeb.net/Alfred%20Watkins.htm

 

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