Legends and Locations

A historical landscape is impossible to recover, but we can still feel its power.

Profound but intangible: Scutchamer Knob on the Ridgeway Path of the Berkshire Downs.There are some historical events which only come sharply into focus when you stand on the spot where they took place. I was reminded of this recently when I visited an unassuming hillside mentioned in a memorable story in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, concerning something which happened during a Viking raid on southern England in the reign of Æthelred II. It is a slightly mysterious story, a glimpse into a long-vanished landscape of power that now only survives half-hidden in the name of a Berkshire barrow mound.

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