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Knocking Knoll

Round Barrow(s)


This looks like a round barrow because it straddles the county boundary, and the Hertfordshire side has been ploughed, but it's actually* a long barrow [*er, actually, see below]. I had a childhood friend from Pegsdon and I remember her mentioning the story that you could hear someone inside knocking. I was (pleasantly) scared to believe it but I wanted to believe it. I can't remember if she said she'd heard it herself but I'm sure we must have pressed her on the point..

In her book 'Albion' Jennifer Westwood agrees that there is an old man inside who knocks to be let out. She mentions the Herts Illus. Review for 1894, which says a British Chieftain is buried here with his treasure chest. From time to time he knocks thrice on it to make sure it's still there (I guess it's dark in there). The hill is/was also known as 'Money Knoll'.

Westwood also suggests the name could come from 'cnycyn' - the welsh for a bump or small hillock. It's a long way from Wales, mind.

In her later book, 'Lore of the Land' (2005) Westwood mentions the Hertfordshire folklorist W B Gerish, who heard from a Mr Aylott that it was a 'warrior in armour' knocking. Purple pasque flower grew (grows?) on the knoll, and this was said to grow only where Danish blood had been spilt.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
11th April 2002ce
Edited 14th March 2012ce

Comments (2)

The knoll is on private land, a short way from wood lane which is a nice track up from Pirton. The Knocking Hoe National Nature Reserve is next door and doesn't require a permit since thankfully these places are much more enlightened these days. Posted by stephen mason
5th May 2009ce
You're right - seems it's been access land since 2005
but do keep tiptoeing round those pasque flowers. Not to mention the Moon Carrots. No, they're REAL!
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
5th May 2009ce
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