There are two barrows marked here on the summit on the OS map, although Magic doesn't actually list them as scheduled monuments. I read this about the Down in 'Folklore'*: ".. in Hampshire "stones grow." If you doubt this, you only have to gather the flints off a field and see if a double crop will not face you shortly! Besides, has not Shanklin Down increased one hundred feet in height?"
Well how bizarre. I found a bit more here. I guess it must have been local drollery in the C19th Isle of Wight. Unless of course, the hill really has been on the move.
"That high peak that we see is St. Katherine's, the highest point of the island, is it not?"From 'Tales and Legends of the Isle of Wight - with the adventures of the author in search of them.' by Abraham Elder, Esq.
"Yes," he replied, "St. Katherine's is at present the highest point of the island."
"Is at present! Why, you do not mean to say that there ever was a time when its elevation was different?"
"That I know nothing about," he replied; "but it appears very probable that Shanklin Down will soon overtake it in height."
"Why, you don't mean to say that Shanklin Down is growing higher?"
"That, indeed, appears to be the case, or, at any rate, relatively to other heights in the island. The inhabitants of Chale will tell you that formerly Shanklin Down, from the interference of Week Down, could only be seen from the top of St. Katherine's, whereas it is now visible from Chale Down, which is much lower consequently, unless Week Down has sunk lower than it was, Shanklin Down must have risen considerably. Now, if Week Down is sinking, it is very probable that St. Katherine's is slipping down too; so that, whether Shanklin Down is growing higher or not, it seems very probable that it will in the course of time overlook all the rest of the Isle of Wight."
"Very curious," said [another], with a kind of supercilious air. "I suppose the two hills playing at see-saw.--Now we go up, up, up; and now we go down, down, down. Very curious, -- very," picking his teeth incredulously between the two last words.
"There is no animal," thought I to myself, "so jealous of another of the same species, as your regular story-teller."
p535 in Bentley's Miscellany, vol 5 (1839). Apparently it's mentioned in Worsley's 1781 History of the Isle of Wight, if you can find it.
D. H. Moutray Read
Folklore, Vol. 22, No. 3. (Sep. 30, 1911), pp. 292-329.
Posted by Rhiannon
28th April 2007ce
Edited 2nd May 2007ce