|A quick flyby in the motor today and the hill that is Goldbury still fascinates. I often drive on the A417 and sometimes there is a lovely optical illusion of cows 'flying' on the downs.
Yes, the farmer hates people actually getting on it (his cow shed is at the bottom) - so don't annoy him!
No, there is no/very little archaeology on it.
Yes, there's an Anglo-Saxon cemetery near to it
But maybe, it is something...
I always describe this hill(ock) to people as 'a perfect hill'. It's cute, it's round and attached to the ground! (cue football chant)
The name evidence seems attractive: 'Gold' and 'Bury', the bury bit seems straightforward - its a hill (not a barrow or an ancient fort). The Gold bit could be sun worship (i'm thinking temple like lowbury), but then these placenames do have a nasty habit of being corrupted and twisted over time. 'Cold' could be a contender (i'm thinking Mr Watkins) and therefore a folk memory of some ancient use.
It's damn close to the Icknield Way, and I mean 'an icknield way' not 'the Icknield Way'. A way is a way and not just a road. This is like the ridge 'way'. There were many tracks and paths and roads that would have been the Icknield Way, but modern agreement is that the A417 to the north is it. (What Wantogians like to call the Port 'Way'). Confused? Can't find your 'way'?
At SU447882(ish) is the turn down to the Holy Trinity Church and next to a Thatch cottage. Look at the kerbstones in this little dead end road. There are two sarsens opposite each other, still in the kerb. I reckon they're waymarkers for an Icknield Way. Through the church and crossing Ginge Brook are two more on the 'ickle' bridge. I'm quite open to the two on the bridge being reasonably modern and maybe 'faux' markers. But, those ones in the kerb... When the workmen originally surfaced that road and added kerbstones, why didn't they just move the two old pieces of stone and fit a new kerb? I'm guessing (again!) but if those workers were local (highly likely) and those stones had always been there, then the cheeky little buggers built the kerb around them.
If you scout around the area, you'll find more waymarkers of sarsen and I see plenty of 'em around the Vale.
And this is my point on the Icknield 'Way', there are many of them not just one. Look at the OS map for the area and you'll see many paths and tracks heading in a generally E-W direction and they are all the Icknield Way. There's one that you can see from East Lockinge that runs past Hagbourne Hill and turns into the Chilton Road before reaching Upton and then becomes 'Common Lane'. (for example).
Given the proximity to Ginge Brook (and the Treacle Mines! - ask a local) and the Icknield Way, I'd say Goldbury is something. What (sacred hill?), is still a mystery. Will someone please dig?
Posted by wysefool
14th May 2007ce
Edited 14th May 2007ce