Left The Uffington White Horse is now known to be Late Bronze Age in date. Thomas Cox’s Britannia (1720) states that ‘th neighbouring parish have a custom, once a year, at or near Midsummer, to go and weed it [the Uffington White Horse] in order to keep it in shape and colour; and after the work is over, they end the day in feasting and merriment’. By the end of the 18th century, the scouring had turned into a large country fair, with many booths and stalls selling beer, food and trinkets.
new light on Britain's chalk-cut hill-figures
The study of hill-figures was once a fringe area of archaeology, a speculative fun park distinguished by folkloristic echoes and nebulous anecdote. Typical of this was the whimsical theory advanced by Christine Whipp (1996) who dated three of England’s best-known carvings to the time of the Plantaganets. Picking up a reference to the Cerne Giant’s missing lion-skin cloak, she declared he was a portrait of Richard the Lionheart. His challenging stance celebrated his courage and skill as a fighter; the mighty penis was a satiric allusion to his ‘inverted’ sexuality. As for the Long Man of Wilmington, that’s none other than Richard’s Chancellor, William Longchamps, the son of a Norman serf who raised the ransom for Richard’s release