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St Catherine's Hill

Sacred Hill


St. Catherine's Hill is a sandstone cliff, rising above the Wey, a mile south of Guildford, and nigh unto the wood below "the long backs of the bushless downs" where once Sir Lancelot was tended by Elaine. It is a thirteenth century chapel that stands there, ruined long ago by the Protestants ; but children play there still, and outside the chapel, in October, Cattern's Fair is held, and cattern cakes are sold and eaten, and gipsies bring thither their brown women and their wiles.

St. Martha's, in sight of which I write this, is twin with St. Catherine's. The two chapels were built (saith the story) by two giant sisters, who had but one hammer between them, and tossed it from the one hill to the other as either needed it in building.
A. J. M.
Buttercup Farm.
From Notes and Queries, August 14th 1886.

About 1894, schoolchildren used to take bottles with sugar or treacle to fill, and drink in company, at the spring which flowed out at the foot of St Catherine's Hill, Guildford (site of a chapel and an ancient horse fair), on the side nearest the river.
Barbara Aitken
Holy Wells in Surrey
Barbara Aitken
Folklore > Vol. 64, No. 2 (Jun., 1953), p. 350

I have only found some snippets online about the archaeology: the hill has produced mesolithic finds, a bronze axe, disc and ornament.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
25th August 2006ce
Edited 3rd July 2011ce

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