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Burlough Castle

Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork


Some will tell you this is a mediaeval fortification. But as a handy natural mound overlooking the stream below - well surely. Pastscape says a Lower Palaeolithic Handaxe was found here in the 1880s. I know, this doesn't necessarily mean anything. But until the Magic pdf arrives to describe this Scheduled Monument, perhaps it's enough.
One of our best [Sussex] fairy legends was published in 1854 from the narrative of a certain Will Fowlington, who had turned seventy at the time and had learnt it from a great-uncle; it is set at Burlow Castle..

"When I was a liddle boy and lived with my gurt uncle, old Jan Duly, dere was an old place dey used to call Burlow Castle. It warn't much ov a castle -- onny a few walls like -- but it had been a famous place in de time when dere was a king in every county. Well, whatever it had been afore, at de time I speak on, it were de very hem ov a place for pharisees [fairies], and nobody didn't like to go by it ahter dark for fear on um.
One dee as Chols Packham, uncle's grandfather (I've heerd uncle tell de story a dunnamany times) was at plough up dere, just about cojer time, he heerd a queer sort of a noise right down under de ground' dat frightened him uncommonly, sure-lie..."

The story is too long to quote, but it develops into a fine version of ML 5080, 'Food from the Fairies', with the motif of the broken peel.
How cruel to leave us hanging like that. The original, if you can find it, is in M.A. Lower's 'Contributions to Literature' 1854, p158-61. The above is a quote from p208 of Sussex Local Legends
Jacqueline Simpson
Folklore, Vol. 84, No. 3. (Autumn, 1973), pp. 206-223.

I think a long paper could be written on the silly way people used to write down dialects.


Some more of the story:
Collected pre-1852 (pre-1840?) by Mark Anthony Lower from Will Fowington, a 70-year old South Downsman who had heard the story from his uncle, Jan Duly. Earthwork (medieval?). Charles Packham, the narrator's great great uncle was ploughing at Burlow Castle, a noted 'Pharisee' haunt. About 'cojer' time (11.00 A.M.), he was frightened by a voice coming from a crack in the ground, calling for help. Harry, his mate, denied the existence of fairies, but hearing the voice again, Charles inquired what was the problem and was told 'I've been a bakin', ... and have broken my peel ... and I dunnow what upon de airth to do.' 'Under the earth,' silently thought the ploughman, but he said to put the peel up, and he would try to mend it. Although it was no larger than a 'bren-cheese knife... not big enough to hold a gingey-bread nut hardly,' Charles refrained from laughing in order not to run the risk of offending the fairies. He took out some tin tacks, and, using his knife as a hammer, mended and returned the peel. Harry was unbelieving when informed of this, but the next day, at the same time, Charles was rewarded with a bowl of beer-sops. He hoped to keep the bowl as proof, but it slipped from his hand and dashed itself to pieces. Harry again was unbelieving, but the fairies punished him for his comments. (He fell sick and died a year to the hour that he had first insulted them.)
From A Cake in the Furrow
S. P. Menefee
Folklore, Vol. 91, No. 2 (1980), pp. 173-192
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
18th December 2006ce
Edited 13th February 2009ce

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