Monday, January 08, 2007

Wiltshire. Salisbury Plain, Stonehenge. Winner Stone

Out from London. Stonehenge.
This prehistoric site continues to puzzle. Archeology Magazine, March-April 2012 describes use of ground-penetrating radar and finding large pits that could have held posts or other standing stones, aligning with the Heel Stone for rituals, perhaps.  
Stonehenge, Neolithic, Wiltshire, England
Petrography:  examine slices of rock, microscope, and find unique compositions forming textures like a fingerprint.  Match those with Stonehenge's outer areas, outside its famous center, and some seem to match a quarry site at Preseli Hills, West Wales.  This is 5,000 years ago -- looking for rhyolite.
Context: Compare these tamed giants with the wild standing stones in the Hebrides and Orkney, that remain remote and more primitive in surroundings. See Hebrides Road Ways; and Orkney Road Ways. So much more is felt. Do see those for an idea of what the original builders were doing and responding to in their world. At least the Stonehenge managers here could let the grass grow up a little. With the current manicure, one is tempted to set up a little stand, for renting putters.
Stonehenge is a World Heritage Site, in Wiltshire, England. See Stonehenge World Heritage

Sunday, January 07, 2007

WILTSHIRE. Mildenhall. Helen Scholes. Parish of Minal. Mendenhall, Mindin Hole. Cunetio. Mildan-Heall: in Wiltshire

Town in Wiltshire

Near Marlborough, County of Wiltshire:  Find Mildenhall. Pronounced "Minal".  

Minal? Why that pronunciation for a word that sounds a three syllable Mil den hall. And where a family emigrated at the time of William Penn to Pennsylvania, the Mendenhalls. See Mildenhall - Mendenhall. Wiltshire at FN 1 there for Joseph Mendenhall.

A.  The Name Mildenhall pronounced Minal.

Ask Helen Scholes, calligrapher, lettering artist, illustrator, and see her work at Pen and Ink Calligraphy at ://

We are starting with the research on a print by Ms. Scholes, with calligraphy and illustrations: background legwork by one Richard Westall, who died in 1998.   Look at the calibre of the xalligraphy by Helen Scholes, a local artist. All this in a print series dated 1999.  She dedicates the series to Mr. Westall.

Here is a fair use tiny portion of the print, showing the town area and immediate fields around.

Ms. Scholes has appropriately pointed out that our colors are not quite the same as the original -- and with our silly equipment we are seeing what we can do to set that right.

  • Please adjust your mind's eye to softer, more evocative shades of melon, and pale green. It is not fair to represent an artist's fine work if all aspects are not just so. So we used a small portion, and add this extra disclaimer for amateur work.

The original colors are more lovely melon tones, a soft cantaloupe, not this pink; and a fine, soothing green, all mild and evocative, like a honeydew (is that closer, Helen Scholes?). Nothing jarring.

As soon as we figure out how to get our scanner to do the right thing, please tell you eyes to substitute cantaloupe for pink, and early, mild green for aqua. She kindly pointed that out, see comment below.
On that entire print (it is poster size), find the evolution of Mildenhall's name, its sequence of residents, their ethnicity, other names they gave the places in their area. Celts, to Romans, to on and on. American history begins so late. Look at theirs. Iron age. Romans. Normans.

First the print itself:  Perhaps there are some still available in Mildenhall. Ask at the Horseshoe Inn there, see :// It once had to close in the 1950's because it had remained open when villagers were supposed to be in church, says the print. We vote it for the best food in England. So there.

The print shows some obvious things: sketches of prominent landmark buildings like St. John the Baptist Church, two granaries (Church arm and Glebe House), prominent stately homes (Poulton and Woodlands Houses), and a large, rather grand The Old Schoolhouse. Described and listed are local points of interest for prominent people and heroes of wars, tragedies on the spot. A child, for example, killed when a wagon overturned.

B.  The Romans

There is a coat of arms on the print for the town, with its Roman name for the 10 years, 50-60 AD, that there was a Roman trading post settlement out here, Cunetio.
  • Roman Cunetio:  The trading settlement became a walled garrison in about 355 AD.  This marked the crossroads of  A) the significant West to East way, Bath to Silchester Road (and from there on to London) and  b) the smaller, but well-traveled Winchester to Wanborough (is that it? find it at :// to Cirencester Road (is that it? find it at ://
  • In the 5th Century, the Romans left, and the garrison shrank away.  We did not know all this at the time, but see the copper coins  found outside one of the old gates, and there are parts of old mosaic floors said to be just beneath the soil.  
  • Black Field:  There is more to the coins. A large hoard of Roman coins was found at Black Field, see the Cunetio Times Dig Report at  :// Find an animation of it on You-Tube at  and scholarly material at the stingy JSTOR that won't let you read more than a whistle before you have to subscribe.  Forest Hill: more Roman significance.
  • Mindin Hole -- we heard that the Romans found indigenous residents (Celts? Britons?) whose homes were on sunken floors, below ground level for a few feet.  Step in, step down. They called them "mind in hole" -- or some such.

C.  The Fields

Then the fun starts:  a sketch of the town, small cluster of streets, its buildings; and huge area of fields surrounding and extending out with a river through it, like a chunky hump-backed open parenthesis or backwards comma.  The name of the river seems to be missing, and we understand it to be the Kennet River. One "t".  That is the name that followed with prominent settlers to Pennsylvania in colonial times - Kennett Square; and the Kennett River there, two "t's". The town name went with the Mendenhalls who were among them, and from here - Mildenhall - Mildan-Heall, to Mendenhall over there and also until recently, still in town.

The fields are the history.  The Richard Westall-researched names are all there, laid out like a large puzzle.
  • Helen Scholes -- this is for you: We still love your print. Why not make a commercial puzzle out of your work here.  With all the names, it is more interesting than the knobby repeats we see in stores made from pictures.  Put the history sound-bite on the back. Hm? And it would teach all of us whose families by blood or marriage trace rootlets back here, what this area means.
The fields: imagine! And this is just the outer perimeter.  Omitted is the great big middle:  There is a Wilson there.  My husband's mother is Wilson on one side, Mendenhall on the other. Go, genes. All the dozens and dozens and dozens of field names and markers and places where things happened that are memorialized by name or marker

D.  Following the Fields around the PERIMETER

Clockwise perimeter, beginning at roughly 12:00 High.

1.  Across the top to the right
Broad Drove
Swain's Cottage
Lark Field
Merry Boys - named for students from Marlborough College who helped an Alec Gale there. What was Gale doing? When?
Warren Cottage
Tolterpin Barrage Hill

2.  Angling down the side
Whitechard - five parishes meet here: Minal, Ogbourne St. Andrew, Ogbourne St. George, Aldbourne, and Ramsbury (the Mendenhalls are buried at Ramsbury)

3.  Curling down steeply, all the way toward the bottom
Mere Farm
Mere Paddocks
Mere Barn
Sound Copse
Old Coach Road to London
Sound Bottom - this area has never been plowed. What lies beneath?
Horse Field
Grove Farm
Dairy Block
Grove House
Water Meadow
River (the Kennet River - now a syndicated fishery with native brown trout, grayling and pike if you're lucky. Wild fish caught are replenished, preserving the wild stock)
Shepherd Meadow
Stitchcombe Farm
Chalk Pit
Coombe Hill
Savernake Forest
Puthall Park

4. Across the bottom, right to left now

The A4 motorway to Marlborough goes through here, this way.
Take it the other way and head to London.

The A4 bisects Puthall Park
Amity Oak - about 230 years old. Three parishes meet - Minal, Little Bedwyn, and Brimslayed Cadley
And more of Savernake Forest
Dark Vale
Grand Avenue (coded = = = = for "other tracks")
Red Vein Bottom
Hospital Pieze
Mast Down - there is an Iron Age fort site here. Extra! This has a large rabbit warren. Lots of cowslips in spring.
Chopping Knife Lane - it is said that villagers used to chop wood on the common land there
Elcot Water Meadows
Kennet River again - otters are coming back, with some enhancement projects for them going on; also find kingfishers, herons, feeding snipe and sanepipers, swans - same pair of them for 20 years, they say

5.  This puts us at about 8:00, heading around and up the backwards comma back to 12:00
Bat Willow Meadow
Codes for bridle paths
Poulton Farm
Coding for other tracks
Poulton House
Horse Meadow
Bay Meadow
Bay Furlong (a furlong is about 220 yards to us, see ://

6.  From 10:00 to Noon, going up the top, left to right

Mid Furlong
Abandoned railway track, now a bikeway
Osbourne Hedge
Hollow Ground
Coding for deciduous trees and Old Coach Road to Bath (hedgerows separating fields often contain dense deciduous trees, leaves falling in fall)
Tumulus (artificial hillock, perhaps over a grave, burial mound?)
Coding for earthworks (remains of raised fort areas?)
More deciduous trees and coding for a by-way

E.  Modern Mildenhall

The community website for Mildenhall is at :// Friday! November 5! 2010! a BBQ with burgers and the fixin's.  Very tempting.  I bet it will be at the Horseshoe Inn grounds - big lawn area there, gatherings on Sunday afternoons, perpetual Sunday picnics. Is that still so?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Mildenhall (Mendenhalls), Wiltshire; and Salisbury

Mildenhall, Wiltshire. Pronounced "Minall." West and south from London. This website shows the river in Mildenhall, the Kennett River. See Here is the parish church: Norman.

St. John the Baptist Church, Mindenhall (Minal), Wiltshire.  See its website at ://

Mildenhall, Wiltshire. St. John the Baptist Church. England

St. John the Baptist Church dates from the 9th century. Over the years, it expanded from the single tower and nave area.

There is another Mildenhall in Suffolk, the home of a large military base north from London. See


How to get there?

We looked up Mildenhall, and nearly went in the wrong direction.

The Wiltshire Mildenhall is not on most maps, and was the home of the Mendenhall family, many of whom emigrated to the Kennett Square area, PA, close to the time of William Penn himself. in Pennsylvania, there is a Mendenhall Inn there, near Toughkenamon, PA. See our earliest photograph of a Mendenhall (Joseph or James??) at FN 1.

And find Kennett Square, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania known for mushrooms. My husband Jon's mother was a Mendenhall - any reason for going anywhere is as good as any other. We like family roots places, no matter how remote.

Horseshoe Inn, Mildenhall, Wiltshire, England

Overnight: The Horseshoe Inn there has excellent food and is a fine central hub. Our best dinners in England were served here. On Sunday afternoons, people bring their umbrellas and blankets and chairs and picnic all afternoon on an empty area to the rear and beside. Very chummy. See

Minall as a name apparently came from the Romans' seeing Celts in homes that were dug half underground, both for climate control and for defense - the Romans called the Celts "mind-in-hole" -- and other derivations followed. The fields there are still named with the old names.

The homes there still have thatched roofs, and that is not uncommon.

Homes, thatched roofs, Mildenhall, Wiltshire

Thatching is a sensible building material. We didn't expect thatch on such large homes.

Then on to Salisbury: south of Mildenhall. The Great Cathedral, and nearby, Sarum, the site of the first church and town - were moved off the original hill because of insufficient water, I think.

Hotel lesson in Salisbury: if you like a room that faces on the main street, get a hotel room in the back, even though there are views from the front. We were there on party night, and hardly got any sleep. Or, take earplugs.

FN 1
Joseph Mendenhall, family originally from Mildenhall

May I introduce Joseph Mendenhall, whose family, we believe, bought 85 acres of the original William Penn land grant in 1847, where the homestead and now restaurant are located. Is that so?  Which of the several Joseph Mendenhalls is this one.

Search it:  find a Joseph Mendenhall, Quaker bachelor, born 1829, some of his papers are at :// /.  There is another Joseph Mendenhall 1692-1748, see ://  This one donated land for the old Kennet Meeting House (Quaker).

 He is buried in Pennsbury Township.

The Mendenhall Inn in Kennett Square PA provided this information, of interest to us because Jon's mother was a Mendenhall. The Mendenhalls migrated from Mildenhall, Wiltshire, and settled in Concord, Delaware County, in 1684. Our info has Mildenhall dating to Celtic times, on through the Romans, and on. The family established the first station for the underground railroad over the PA line. The old barn of the homestead became a restaurant in 1968.   Mendenhalls:  see big website at ://

There are still Mendenhalls in the area around Kennett Square (double t's), but no longer in Mildenhall - moved recently to the next town. The Mendenhall family graves are at Ramsbury, town to the north.  Look under Mildenhall; graves also at the 

Mount St. Michael's - near Cornwall. St. Michael's Mount

St. Michael's Mount

This is a monastery on an island on the way to the Cornish coast, and was inspired by Mont St. Michel in France. See France Road Ways. We were there toward the end of the afternoon, misty. It has retained more of its old character because it can only be reached by boat or walking. No causeway. They stop the walkers when the tide is coming in. We were among the last allowed to start, and we were already up to our ankles and going to the knees when we finally got across. You walk on a cobble walk that becomes fully submerged. Check the tides if you want the luxury of choosing to walk or not.

Coming back, the tides gave no choice but to hop on the little motor launches. The island is not full of shops and tourists, some, but quite quiet. See

Jack the Giant Killer.

Jack is supposed to have defeated the Giant Cormoran here, after making him fall into a pit. Great Cornish legends. See

The full tale is worth reading, if you have your glasses because the print is small - visit Andres Lang's Fairy Books, "The History of Jack the Giant Killer", at also Migratory Patterns of Tales, Jack the Giant Killer>

Friday, January 05, 2007

Dartmoor and Bennett Cross - and the baying of the Hound of the Baskervilles

Bennetts Cross, Dartmoor, Devon, England.

Dartmoor. Find 368 miles of open space, and two shorelines, expanse in between.  Most recently, this an update 2011, Stephen Spielberg's film, War Horse, was made here.  See

People get lost out there. Its wide area is a national park. See the location, at Devon, near Cornwall -

Bennett's Cross.  The history of this particular cross is uncertain, but it could be named -- as many of these medieval landmarks -- for Benedictine monks, Saint Benedict. Spellings vary:  Bennett, Bennet, Bennet's, Bennetts, see Park your car anywhere and head down a path.  If you worry all the time, you'll see little.  We found this isolated cross, with a road sign pointing to it, "Bennet's Cross." That is one of many crosses of different kinds that were used to marks certain boundaries, or provide a landmark, or is named after the person with tin rights to the area at an early time: see Bennet's Cross at

That site carries the full listing and explanation for all the Dartmoor Crosses. Vast spaces.

Reread Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles, or find the 1939 film at -- with Sherlock Holmes. Later films are from 1959 and 2002.  Do not cheat and go to Sparknotes at

 The setting is Dartmoor. Sherlock's statue and museum are in London, not far from Madame Tussaud's. See London post here.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Cornwall - Mousehole, Penzance, St. Ives; and Wreckers; Cornish pasties

A clerk at the hotel in Salisbury spent his honeymoon at Mousehole (pronounced Mouzill), so we had to go. See it at; and its lovely harbor at Worth the trip, but dicey parking on the steep little streets. We finally went out on the jetty. See

We were interested in the wrecker tradition of Cornwall. We had read that people known as wreckers years ago, for centuries, went out at night with false lights to lure sailors to the rocks. Once the ships wrecked, the wreckers kill the survivors and loot them and the ship. Wonderful. Even movies about them. We heard that the practice was common also in old New Jersey, USA, and anywhere there are rocks and cliffs and lighthouses to be imitated. Wrong?

Apparently that is not all true. See That site says that nature did the wrecking on the Cornwall coast. People and false lights were not needed there at Cornwall - it was so hazardous on its own. You travel, you learn something. See the site on Cornish culture at

Delights. Cornish pasties: not a burlesque, but a food: Empanadas with an accent.

St. Ives. Hear the Mother Goose rhyme about the one going to St. Ives, who met the man with seven wives, at . Go to the dot com home page, then navigate until you identify the rest of the address.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Cornwall - Tintagel, King Arthur

Tintagel. King Arthur. Camelot. We were there in the mists - many stairs, long walks to it, out and up and down. The room foundations of the castle are small. It was not really even a castle, in those days. They had wooden fortress shapes on stone foundations, and stone for other defensive parts, and the remains here show a modest geographic area for them. Walt Disney, take note. See

This is what it really looks like - stone foundations, supporting wooden structures. The legends are many. See>. Was he really here. Where. See

And here is the view outwards.

One of the first chroniclers of King Arthur's exploits was Sir Thomas Malory in his "Morte d'Arthur (1470 or so). In Paul Gray's review of the book, "Malory, The Knight who Became King Arthur's Chronicler, " by author Christina Hardyment (HarperCollins 2006?), and in the NYTimes Review of Books Sunday 8/20/06 at page 12: the thesis is that Malory was a rapist and a thug. Wonderful. See But interesting. There is some debate as to the identity of the chronicler, but Hardyment looks persuasive that it is indeed the bad boy Malory.

Later Cornwall is known for its tin mining, from the earliest Middle Ages. Skeletons of old tin mines many places against the sky. See

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Wales - side trip

After St. Ives, we aimed for Wales - see Wales Road Ways.