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




Grinsell said (in his 1975 folklore collection) "In dry summer weather I occasionally see children sliding down the shaggy grass-covered steeps... They sit on the discarded paper bags that held chemical fertiliser." Much comfier than a jawbone.

A G Bradley's 1907 'Round about Wiltshire' says:
In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, great sports were held up here on Martinsell. The custome still, I believe, survives in picnics for children. But at the original function a part of the programme consisted in sliding down the almost perpendicular face of the hill seated on the jawbones of horses, a practice which an antiquarian friend in the neighbourhood believes to show some trace of pagan origin. I can myself remember as a child the well-worn mark of a slide traced down this three or four hundred feet of precipitous turf, and the legend that a certain grave episcopal and academic dignitary, then living, had been persuaded to launch himself down it, without the assistance even of the horse's jawbone, and that having once started had to continue his career unchecked till he landed safe but sore in the vale of Pewsey. All trace, however, of the historic slide has long vanished. But within the memory of men only elderly, the pugilists of the neighbouring villages used to take advantage fo what was left of the ancient festival, and fight out their battles on the top of Martinsell. These encounters were sometimes so ferocious that unsuccessful efforts were made to stamp out the festival, which, however, died a natural death.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
1st May 2002ce
Edited 21st March 2010ce

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