The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian




A LOCAL TRADITION OF THE GOG-MAGOG HILLS.—About five miles south-east of the town of Cambridge, and in the county of the same name, are situated the Gog-Magog Hills. They are an offshoot of a range of chalk hills, known as the East Anglian heights, which run through that part of the country. Many barrows are found in the locality, which are supposed to be of early British origin. Here, too, stood the camp of Vandlebury, or Wandlebury, likewise of British construction. Like other places that boast of remote antiquity, it has its legends and traditions.

One tradition, relative to the origin of these hills (which I heard from an elderly man living in the neighbourhood), may be worth recording in the pages of " N. & Q.," especially as I have never seen or heard of it being anywhere in print. It asserts that previous to the formation of these hills (Which are three in number), and near to the same spot, was a very large cave, which was inhabited by a giant and hia wife (a giantess) of extraordinary stature, whose names were Gog and Magog. They did not live very happily together, for scarcely a day passed by without a quarrel between them. On one occasion the giantess so outraged the giant, that he swore he would destroy her life. She instantly fled from the cave ; he quickly pursued her ; but she running faster than her husband, he could not overtake her. Gog, in his anger, stooped down, took up a handful of earth and threw at her ; it missed her, but where it fell it raised a hill, which is seen to the present day. Again the enraged giant threw earth at his wife, but again it missed her ; where it fell it was the cause of the second hill. Magog still kept up her pace; but again the giant, in his rage, threw more earth at his wife ; but this time it completely buried her alive, and where she fell is marked by the highest hill of the three. So runs, the local tradition respecting the origin of the
Gog-Magog Hills.

From Notes and Queries, December 26th, 1874.

You'd imagine (looking at the map) that at least one of the hills with barrows on must be the hills referred to in the story - and of course one of them must be where Wandlebury is itself?
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
25th August 2006ce
Edited 25th August 2006ce

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