From an article in the St Albans Observer by Claire Ling:
A rare coin that was made in St Albans 2,000 years ago is expected to fetch up to £1,300 when it goes up for auction in London. The Iron Age coin was struck in Verulamium [sic] between 10BC and 25 BC and horse-riding Celtic warriors are depicted.
The Hertfordshire HER says there is a (probable) henge here, with its entrances east and west, and a diameter of 85m. There used to be a dene hole inside it, in which Neolithic arrow heads were found. The hole was also known as being 'Jack O'Legs's Cave' (dully, it's now filled in). But you can't help thinking that a henge with built-in cave would be a rather marvellous thing.
On Jack O'Legs:
At Weston, two stones in the churchyard, 14ft. 7 inches apart, are said to be the head and foot stones of the giant Jack o' Legs, who is there buried with his body doubled up. He lived at Baldock, - where, as he walked along the street, he would look in at the first-floor windows, - and thence he shot an arrow, saying that where it fell he wished to be buried. It fell in Weston Churchyard, and, in its flight, knocked away a corner of the church tower. (Told in 1883).
From 'Scraps of folklore collected by John Philipps Emslie', C.S. Burne, in 'Folklore' v26, no. 2 (June 1915).
Likewise he's mentioned in 'Handbook to Hitchin and the neighbourhood' by Charles Bishop (1875):
On the Great North Road, near the village of Graveley, is a considerable elevation which goes by the name of "Jack's Hill," from its having been the scene of depradations on travellers by a noted highwayman called "Jack o' Legs." [...]
Although a little distant from the main group of barrows Earl’s Hill barrow is easy enough to spot. An obvious thing to look for is the metal bench perched on top! It is next to the tee-off for the 18th (350 yards Par 4 – if you are interested).
The view from this large barrow is not as good as the main group due to the large factory / industrial site and new housing estate being built below. On the plus side the sun had finally broken out from behind the clouds and a warm glow of sunshine enveloped me.
I note 12 years have passed since Kammer visited. I would encourage other TMAers not to wait so long to pay a visit.
Once you arrive at the main group of round barrows the long barrow is easy to spot on the fairway of the adjacent golf course – 18th hole? It is larger than I expected, approximately 2m high x 30m long and looked to be in good condition. I know golf courses are not everyone’s cup of tea but at least they should offer some sort of protection to sites – excluding divots of course! I find it quite amazing that this long barrow was perhaps 2,000 years old when the ancestors decided to build their round barrows.
Makes you think – well, makes me think anyway!
Just off the A505, west of Royston. Large (free) car park.
Karen stayed in the car to keep an eye on the children (who were busy watching DVDs – Dafydd a documentary on the Vikings / Sophie Peppa Pig!) whilst I headed up the obvious ‘chalk path’ towards the barrows which are easily seen from the car park.
Despite being overcast, it was quite warm with only a little breeze. Surprisingly for a bank holiday there were no golf players around so I didn’t have to worry about stray golf balls hitting me!
The three larger barrows are approximately 2.5m high x 20 across, the smaller ones approximately 1.5m high x 10m across. The 'missing barrow' Kammer refers to is possibly either a very small barrow next to the long barrow? On the other hand it may not be! Although one barrow showed clear damage caused by previous ‘excavation’ the others all appeared to be in good order.
There are good views to be had from the top of the barrows north and west.
The O/S map shows a couple of other barrows to the east and a further barrow across the road on the other side of the car park. Unfortunately I decided I didn’t have enough time to visit these as I felt I had been gone too long as it was. Which proved to be the right judgment call given Karen’s response when I did eventually arrive back at the car! It is surprising how quickly time can pass when you immerse yourself in a site.
This is an excellent place to visit and well worth the minimal effort. Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time!
Next to Paper Mill Lane (near the church). Can't really miss it. Plenty of parking.
My second 'Pudding Stone' in as many days! This one is even better than the first. It has a nice setting on a small green, next to a lovely oak tree. An information board and bench have been kindly provided. The stone sits on a conical flint built stand - nicely done.
Standon is a very pretty village with an attractive church. This, coupled with the stone itself, makes it a good place to visit if you happen to be in the area.
Next to Six Hills roundabout, near junction 7 of the A1 (M).
I would guess that parking is tricky here during the 'working week' but as it was evening time on a bank holiday Sunday I had no such problems. We parked in the empty Kings Court office complex.
I am pleased to say the cycle tracks across the top of the barrows previously reported are no longer there. All six barrows are fully grassed over although four of them are suffering from rabbit burrow damage - one in particular. I know rabbits are cute but something needs to be done here before too much damage occurs.
The barrows are very impressive, approximately 3 metres high x 10 metres across. Most have the tell-tale depression in the top of earlier excavations.
It is amazing that the barrows have survived. This is a very built up 'modernized' area with office blocks, DIY centres and duel carrigeways. we should be thankful that planning permission now (for all its faults) offers far more protection than it ever used to, otherwise these fine monuments would be but a memory.
I wonder what the builders would think if they were transported forward in time until today and see how much has changed - yet their monuments remain.
This is an excellent site to visit although I would suggest a weekend / evening visit when parking will be a lot easier.
From the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of London, v3 (1856) - strange sounding barrow-like and subterranean excavations up on Therfield Heath. In all likelihood not as old as the barrows? - although flint tools were found in one, interestingly. But maybe inspired by them and their location?