The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Philpots Camp

Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork


In the parish of West Hoadley, about three or four miles south of East-Grinsted, the ground in many places rises in high ridges with craggy cliffs. About half a mile west of West Hoadley church, there is a high narrow ridge covered with wood. The edge of this is a craggy cliff composed of enormous blocks of sand-stone. The soil hath been intirely washed from off them, and in many places from the interstices by which they are divided. One perceives these craggs, with bare broad white foreheads; and as it were, overlooking the wood which cloaths the valley at their feet.

In going to the place I passed across this deep valley, and was led by a narrow foot-path almost trackless, up to the cliff, which seems as one advances to hang over one's head. The mind in this passage is prepared with all the suspended feelings of awe and reverence; and as one approaches this particular rock standing with its stupendous bulk poised, seemingly in a miraculous manner, on a point, one is struck with amazement.

The recess in which it stands hath, behind this rock, and the rocks which surround it, a withdrawn and recluse passage, which the eye cannot look into but with an idea of its coming from some more secrete and holy adyt.

All these circumstances in an age of tutored superstition would give even to the firmest minds the impressions that lead to idolatry.


I make no doubt that if the Druids had resided in these parts, but that they would have adopted and consecrated this our Great upon Little, as one of their mysterious rocks, one of their symbols of the Numen, whom they taught the people to worship. Other priests also of the northern people might have done the same. The object itself would inspire, and the nature of the place where it is found would conspire to this imagination...
From Thomas Pownall's article called 'Account of a singular Stone among the Rocks of West Hoadley, Sussex', in Archaeologia v6 (January 1782).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
6th March 2013ce
Edited 6th March 2013ce

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