The barrows in the group [on Snail Down] (there are at least thirty) are locally explained as the burial places of "the people killed in the battle of Sidbury Hill." The latter is crowned by an Iron Age hill fort which looms over the downs...Folklore from a Wiltshire Village
This hill, like many other natural eminences, owes its position traditionally to Satanic action. "It happened this way," Mr. M--- told the writer. "The Devil was carrying it from Bristol to London, and he got tired and dropped it on the way." The same story is told of Silbury Hill, a vast artificial mound.. which actually does stand on the Bristol-London road.. the writer is inclined to regard this tale as having been transferred in comparatively recent times from the former to the latter, doubtless through confusion of the somewhat similar place-names.
A much more fascinating story connects Sidbury Hill with the village, a distance of some two miles. According to Mr. M---, "There is a well in Everleigh village, opposite the two cottages up by the racing stables. I was born in one of those cottages, and they were burnt down in 1884. Down the well, there is an opening in the side, and a tunnel leads from there to Sidbury Hill. They say there is a golden chair in the tunnel."
.. "Place-Names of Wiltshire", records the following forms of the name; Shidbury, Chydebur' (1325), Shudburie, Shudburrowe Hill (1591) and Chidbury (1812).
.. a story of certain caves in the chalk, behind a farm near Ludgershall (five miles east of Everleigh). These were believed to run for miles underground, to go beneath Sidbury Hill, and to come out near Pewsey.
.. "There is an old castle at the foot of Sidbury Hill", Mr. M--- told the writer, "with a wall around it. The castle has gone now, but the wall is still there, and the Forestry Commission raise young trees inside it. This castle belonged to King Ina.".. Mr. M---'s story confirms a version of the same tradition recorded in 1812. Sir Richard Colt Hoare published in that year the first volume of his Ancient History of Wiltshire; at p181 he states of the linear earthwork running from Sidbury Hill,
"It terminates in a valley, and immediately at a spot where there are several irregularities and excavations in the soil. With all the ardour and fancy of a zealous antiquary, I once fondly thought that here I might discover the traces of King Ina's palace, who according to tradition, had a country seat at Everley."
Folklore, Vol. 65, No. 3/4. (Dec., 1954), pp. 165-168.
Posted by Rhiannon
1st October 2006ce
Edited 1st October 2006ce