Rare bronze-age treasures were sold on eBay for £205, a coroner heard yesterday. Five bids were made and the axe heads were shipped over to Dutch collector Jeroen Zuiderwijk, who paid just a fraction of their real value... continues...
Countryside Agency to repair Bucks section of Ridgeway?
By James Young - Bucks Free Press
A bumpy ride for cyclists, horse riders and walkers could soon be over as plans to improve one of Britain's oldest road gather pace. The Ridgeway National Trail, which runs through Princes Risborough, has been damaged in recent months by rain and illegal vehicles driving along it... continues...
Naturally this camp hasn't really anything to do with the Danes, but is a hillfort from the Iron Age. When some of the site was excavated in the 1990s, various earlier artifacts were found too, so it's known the promontory was being used in the Bronze Age and Neolithic too. It's right on the cliff overlooking the Thames, so it only has earthworks on three sides. The SMR says "The site offers a clear vantage point onto the river, and wide views across the flood plain into Berkshire." This attractive spot wasn't overlooked by more modern settlers either, so that is why there is now a hotel there. Alas when the house was built c1900, they just flattened the western banks entirely and bunged the building on top. Apparently "A short section of the inner bank and ditch survives as earthworks to the south of the mansion, adapted in the early 20th century to serve as a rock garden with an ornamental walkway." So that's handy isn't it. You can even be taken on a tour of the gardens this summer, as part of the National Gardens Scheme.
My attention was drawn here by a totally unprehistoric but weird bit of folklore, about the Uncorrupt Hand of St James. Yep that's (allegedly) St James the apostle himself, Jesus's mate - here in Buckinghamshire. Who'd have thought it. His hand used to be kept in a chapel that was right here in the fort (the chapel, along with another house, got knocked down to be replaced by the present Danesfield House). Once upon a time it was kept in Reading Abbey and was a big draw for pilgrims. And today it resides at St Peter's church in Marlow, and you can see it there for yourself. There's a colour photo on Elizabeth Chadwick's blog, if you've got the stomach for it. I was reading about some of its adventures here in a 1901 book called 'Memorials of Old Buckinghamshire', by P H Ditchfield. So, not prehistoric. But says something about how we give meaning to and value the ancient past perhaps.
I can't believe this site isn't already on TMA as it is so easily accessible, in a beautiful place and it's easy to see the remaining parts of it.
In Burnham Beeches, an ancient woodland full of huge, gnarly, old beech and oak pollards, the hill fort has been quite badly damaged due to quarrying and WWII vehicle activity. The banks and ditches are clear to see where they remain. Beware that this part of the wood is grazed - I saw some very pretty cows, some ponies and a tiny deer (muntjac or Chinese water deer)!
I didn't go there specifically to see this site - the forest alone is worth a visit (especially if you're into large, ancient trees) and the hillfort is an added bonus! The forest feels bigger than it is, I think because you can't see out of it.
Free parking in the week. I expect it gets very busy at weekends. Definitely worth the trip though!
A slight univallate hillfort located on the south western outskirts of the village of Padbury. The hillfort stands on a slight plateau bounded on the north western side by a meander of the Padbury Brook. The hillfort's perimeter can be traced across the pasture to the south, where it forms an oval circuit measuring some 200 metres from north to south and 250 metres from east to west. The boundary earthworks are thought to have been designed to enhance the natural topography and to have included an inner bank surrounded by an external ditch, except on the north western side where a single outward scarp faces the brook. The ditch has largely been infilled, although one section, measuring some 8 metres to 12 metres in width and 0.8 metres deep, remains visible around the northern part of the boundary. The bank can still be traced on the eastern side of the perimeter, where it measures about 10 metres in width and 0.4 metres high. The bank is known to have stood up to 1 metre in height around the south western side, although it was pushed into the ditch in the 1940s when the interior was briefly cultivated. The boundary on this side is now marked by a pronounced scarp which descends some 1.8 metres towards the line of the infilled ditch. The south eastern quarter of the ramparts, together with a small area of the interior, was completely destroyed by a 19th century clay quarry and brickworks (now abandoned). There is no visible evidence of habitation within the interior of the hillfort, which is generally level apart from a slight slope towards the brook. The name 'Norbury' was first recorded on a map of the All Soul's College Estates dated 1591, and is believed to derive from the old English terms 'noro', meaning north, and 'burgh', meaning a stronghold or fortified place. Evidently, the site remained notable for its defences long after its abandonment. Scheduled.