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Avebury & the Marlborough Downs



Sometimes there breaks out water in the manner of a sudden land flood, out of certain stones (that are like rocks) standing aloft in open fields near the rising of the river Kenet in this shire, which is reputed by the common people a fore runner of death. That the sudden eruption of Springs in places, where they use not always to run, should be a sign of death, is no wonder. For these usuall eruptions (which in Kent we call Nailbourns) are caused by extream gluts of rain, or lasting wet weather, and never happen but in wet years (witness the year 1648 when there were many of them) In which years Wheat, and most other grain thrive not well (for a plain reason) and therefore a dearth succeeds the year following.
From 'Britania Baconica: or, The natural rarities of England, Scotland, and Wales', written by J Childrey (1662).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
2nd January 2011ce

Comments (4)

How fascinating - which stones does this refer to I wonder; the no longer existing stone circle at Winterbourne Bassett perhaps. tjj Posted by tjj
2nd January 2011ce
Interesting find Rhiannon.

The, “Sometimes there breaks out water in the manner of a sudden land flood, out of certain stones (that are like rocks) standing aloft in open fields near the rising of the river Kenet” sounds like it could be the area around Silbury. The ‘sudden land flood’ could be one of those that can suddenly occur there. I think Stukeley also wrote that there were stones in the area in his time, so that might also indicate that this is the area Childrey is describing (not sure about that though).
Littlestone Posted by Littlestone
3rd January 2011ce
And of course there is another water story, which I found ages ago in a history of Cunetio/Mildenhall about the River Kennet...

"The strangely named hamlet of Werg was a community of nine dwellings on the River Kennet."One of the many pools on the river, as it wove its way through the water meadows was "Nicker Pool", where it is said the water spirits played. When the climatic conditions are right, the whirling wraiths can still be seen, so that the local name had good cause to be established."

Change Nicker to the Saxon 'Nicor', and you have water monster, which adds to the tale!

Taken from; A History of Mildenhall
moss Posted by moss
3rd January 2011ce
I would guess Childrey hadn't visited (although he might have, I think he was chums with RC Hoare?) so maybe he got the stones and the stream all geographically muddled. Because it does sound a lot like the sudden flood of the Winterbourne that Pete G made a video of.. such a peculiar sight! I wish I could find a link. So then he might have confused the stones at the spring with the upright stones of the circle. I think there are tales connecting winterbournes with Ominous Events all over the country (certainly the Gypsey Race). But I do like your Pool, Moss. That's got to be worth a wander along the river there. (A careful wander, mind, if there's Nicors involved). Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
3rd January 2011ce
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