|Iley Oak was said to be the place where King Alfred and his troops rested overnight before the battle of Ethandun. The oak was later a favourite (and less legendary) meeting place of the non-conformists of Crockerton, who held their religious meetings in secret there, at the earthwork called Robin Hood's Bower.
Iley does look like Ilegh, which was the meeting place for the hundreds of Warminster and Heytesbury until at least 1652, according to the Victoria County history (see
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=16071) - and this was described as the site of a great tree standing in Southleigh or Eastleigh woods. Southleigh is where RHB is. Ah, it all comes together you see.
Completely bizarrely, according to discussion on the Megalithic Portal, RHB is planted with monkey puzzle trees, and you can also see (encouragingly in light of the above) the remains of a stump of a large deciduous tree (an oak? which would fit in with the story - and make a link to Robin Hood and his oaks in Sherwood Forest).
But what is Robin Hood doing so far south? It's all terribly confusing.
The record on magic doesn't have much to say about the site:
The monument includes Robin Hood's Bower, a sub-rectangular prehistoric earthwork enclosure on low lying Greensand south of Warminster.
The monument comprises a sub-rectangular area of 200 sq m enclosed by a ditch up to 1m deep and 7.2m wide and a slight inner bank 3.3m wide and up to 0.2m high. The enclosure is crossed by a modern track.
Posted by Rhiannon
1st February 2006ce
Edited 19th June 2006ce