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The Long Man of Wilmington

Hill Figure


I was told in 1875 that the Long Man at Wilmington (called Wilmington Giant by the people of the neighbourhood) was cut on the hills before the Flood.

There are remains of a castle above Wilmington Priory; pilgrimages were made from the castle to the priory, and, at the time of the pilgrimage the giant (Long Man) was slain by the pilgrims.

I was also told that the giant on Firle Beacon threw his hammer at the Wilmington giant and killed him, and that the figure on the hillside marks the place where his body fell.

I was told this again in 1890, and in 1891 was further informed that the Long Man carries spears, not staves, in his hands, and that an upright line (which I was unable to find) runs from top to bottom of the hill a little to the east, and another a little to the west of the figure.

A man told me that the Wilmington Long Man was a giant who fell over the top of the hill and killed himself; he also said that "a boy cut it out; they can't trace its history, it goes back so far."

Another man told me that the Wilmington giant was killed by a shepherd, who threw his dinner at the monster. The sun cast a shadow on the hill; the monks marked the place, and cut an outline; thus the Wilmington giant was made.

"One of the Romans" was buried in a gold coffin under the Wilmington giant.
Scraps of Folklore Collected by John Philipps Emslie
C. S. Burne
Folklore, Vol. 26, No. 2. (Jun. 30, 1915), pp. 153-170.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
1st October 2006ce
Edited 1st October 2006ce

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