The composer John Ireland was much influenced by the English landscape. He lived in sight of Chanctonbury Ring, and it was there and at Harrow Hill that Ireland found the inspiration for 'Legend for Piano and Orchestra'.
On one occasion John Ireland arose early, cut some sandwiches and chose Harrow Hill as the place for his picnic. Just as he was about to start eating, he noticed some children dancing around him in archaic clothing -very quiet, very silent, He was a little put out about having his peace invaded by children; he looked away for a moment, when he looked back they had disappeared. The incident made such an impression on him that he wrote about his experience to Arnold Machen whose books had greatly influenced much of his music. The reply he received was a postcard with the laconic message "So, you've seen them too!"
On the top of the hill is a small prehistoric fort, together with around 160 depressions which were Neolithic flint mines; here, the locals believed, was the last home in England of the fairies, who left when the mines were excavated early this century (see Rhiannon's post above). Interestingly, in the tunnels the excavators found soot from the miners’ lamps on the walls and roofs, and scratch marks which may have been records of the amounts of flint they had removed. This all dates back 4-6,000 years.
According to "The Place names of Sussex" by Julian Glover, Harrow derives from OE- haerg- a heathen place of worship. Excavation on a small Iron Age enclosure at the top of the hill revealed a number of Ox skulls. Probably the Autumn slaughter for the Winter took place here, with the heads left as offerings at the shrine.