Saturday, November 13, 2010

North Stoke miscellaneous

At one stage in my life my blog got deleted, and certain things I had written got lost, but not quite so, some I had printed. One such essay was about the area that lay under the village of North Stoke, the reason I had started the blog, old history still caught in old maps, churches and landscape.
Well something has been niggling over the last few days, stones lost, probably prehistoric in origin which had been used in all probability to provide hardcore for the road to Bitton from Bath years ago; they were there still in an old 1889 map of the area in the field called Mickle Mead, mickle stems from the Old Saxon word micel/micle meaning great. This particular meadow (mead) was adjacent to Holm Mead, another A/S word for water/ocean/sea (land arising from water). In this instance the meadow is adjacent to the river Avon.

The Boyd River, Bitton Barrow and Wick Burial Mound

This little river seems to have started in Dodington (Glos), and made its way across country encountering the M4 on the way, under which it got culverted, it then came through the villages of Hinton and Doynton till it reached the village of Wick and it then ran "in the exceptionally beautiful valley of the River Boyd, the rocks that line the sides of a deep nearly a mile in length, rising in some places to 200 feet, a bright sparkly substance found on these rocks is known locally as 'Bristol diamonds' taken from a 1914 source.
This now is Wick quarry, still being quarried and still an unspoilt 'glen' in some places. If you were to follow the river further on through the flat fields, the Wick Burial mound can be seen, two rather forlorn stones standing there; this burial mound is situated about a kilometre away from the river, and is near to the so-called 'Grandmother Rocks', perhaps marking the site of an old quarry or an outcrop of rocks that no longer exists.

And then of course the river empties out into the larger Avon, by the barrow at Bitton. If we have a confluence of rivers then we also have a confluence of history, for it is here at Bitton that an old roman road goes through (Via Julia) from Bath on its way to a roman port, and that the church of St.Mary in Bitton close to the road is supposedly sited on top of a Roman temple.
Lost Stones;
Things or at least an important part of its prehistoric history has got 'lost' at this barrow, stones for a start, they are there on a 19th century map, 7 in Holm Mead and 6 further along in Mickle Mead. In both fields on the map they trail the hedgerows, perhaps in Mickle Mead they curve down to the river. This is what makes this place something special in the past, the barrow is very close to the church, a site which has not only had a christian religion, but also a pagan roman temple, which maybe goes back to a native shrine, similar to the one at Bath - Aqua Sulis, or even the Silbury roman settlement. which shows the closeness of the Bitton barrow to the church of St.Mary...
The following photos are of St.Martins church at Northstoke, note the yews around the church and what is not shown in the photo the stream tumbling down on to the lane by the side of the steps. The second photo shows a 'hollow way' old road, that was probably a Roman road from Northstoke down to Bitton.

1 comment:

  1. Apparently Grandmothers rock refer's to a single stone below Hanging hill?

    I'm curious to find out if this is true, as it is been puzzling me for a while.

    Very much liked the info by the way!