Another example of one the many small streams that emerge on the hills, this one is on the Langridge side.
The following extracts are taken from Miss Hargood-Ash's little book - Through the Middle Ages in a Somerset Village. She must have been writing in the early part of the 20th Century, and the book is a library copy and badly worn, so perhaps it would be prudent to record some of the information she found. Especially as I always write about the Lansdown but hardly any historical insight. Yet the lands up on these high downs have been in use since prehistory, and under saxon rule land charters were laid down. I find these saxon boundaries a marvellous evocative memory of the past, where is that little apple tree now long gone into dust, or Pucan spring, did Puck roam these hills as well, or was it a spring that belonged to Pucan the saxon?
The translation was made by Prof.Earle, and the notes in brackets are by Rev.T. Whale, who apparently lived at Mountnessing in Weston Park, just across our valley of gardens, almost opposite my house.
Boundaries of the Lands Granted to Aethelare by King Edmund AD946
From Pucan Wylle (under Kelston Knoll) along the brook to Hidewood (now Shagbear wood); from Hidewood up to the three acres; from the three acres to the angular point to the other angular point (near the monument); along the ridge (boundary of Langridge) to the little maple tree; from the maple tree to the hawthorn; from the hawthorn to the brook (at Langridge); so up by the brook to where the black spring arises (Langridge side); from the black spring to the 'wic' (dwelling) (Chapel farm house) to the west of where the black spring arises; from the wic to the apple tree(the 84 acres of old down probably means the part that we think of as Lansdown behind the pub at Blaythwaite, just before LittleDown?);
from the apple tree to the birch tree stone in front of the hill (at the boundaryof the edge s.e. of chelscombe farm); from the birch tree stone to the two wics standing in a row(there are now two fields as you begin to descend Lansdown Lane called 'Old Wic'. Also the boundary, goes as far as the wic standing beneath the boelles way (Weston Farm - a number of stone coffins have been found near this land, probably called the boelles way as the funeral pile road). From the wic within the boelles way as far as the path (this may be the footpath just below Heather farm leading to the kennels, or Broadmoor Lane); along the path as far asthe hollow (a little south of Weston Wood); from the hollow to the maple tree, to the road to Huttes oesce (ash). ( We now seem to be going s.e towards to the village); so by the hedge to the little spring(above Newbridge Hill House); from the little spring to Pucan spring (this may be the spring on Dean Hill farm, and looks like Pucan wylle with which we began). From the old Homestead that Aethelare owned to Plegi-dic(probably where the court was held on Pen Hill ridge); From the plegi-dic to the highway. From the highway into the solitary thorn. Up the solitary thorn into selardes pole (the lord's mill pool into Loxan (Locksbrook); from Loxan into the Avon (this brook goes through our garden, and the mill would have been at Montrose cottages, just down Weston Lane.)
As a footnote when the brook was put into a pipe by the water board a few years ago and a great ditch stretched through Weston village and the valley of gardens, there was evidence of sluice walls in our garden, showing the longevity of this mill through the middle ages.
So by the water to Brightwold's Weir; from the weir to the dyke(at Newbridge); from the dyke to the spring; from the spring to the leap-gate; from the leap-gate to the Hach (perhaps the oak) into cloenan field. From there on to Loxan. Along by Loxan into the gemytha (mouth?) From the gemytha up to Midridge. From Midridge to Studardscombe, to rawuwe; from the rawuwe to Stony way along by the Edge till you come to the spring (under Weston Wood). From the spring so northward till you come to the wall. From the wall along by the spring till you come to Ellborough into Stanclude along by the hedge to the Old Wic, to the wall. From the wall along by the hedge(boundary) back into the 13 acres of Loxan extending by the byri ( either a burgh or burying place where Partis college now is) near the Abbots boundary.
The Famous Midridge, stretching to Kelston Round Hill.
1) This is a photo of Kelston Hill with cross roads/track marked at x; to the left goes down to Weston, to the right to Northstoke; this trackway is considered to be the old roman Via Julia road. The following photos will attempt to show them in better detail.
This is the old stone that marks the crossroad, Via Julia and Cotswold Way under Kelston Hill. The strange shadow is Moss with ball in mouth, making sure that we both go down the same track as he never trusts me...
This is the trackway down to Weston and Bath from the Midridge, a steep but picturesque walk through the trees.
Looking back up to the top. A tale to be told; at the top until last year was a thick hedge, but the farmer cut it down last summer, and discovered a body of a 60 year old man underneath it. It turned out that the man had disappeared 3 years ago from a nursing home, and presumably had a heart attack from such a steep hill and died.... but why was he under the hedge?
This is looking to the opposite direction of the track to Northstoke, if it is the Via Julia, then this is the way the romans would have travelled to Abona (Sea Mills) past the great Keynsham villa and the other villas down by the river......
Now all the above is supposition, there is no concrete facts to identify the old Roman road, except perhaps that in the field adjoining this part of the track old roman stone coffins were found. The Romans normally buried their dead along the road away from towns or villas.
But to return to the Saxons and their boundaries. Miss Ash states that the Saxon holding was up on Dean Hill Farm, its land lies under Kelston Hill on the south side. Today I walked up the steep little lane that ends up on the Cotswold Way. At the top are two farm 'labourers houses, now empty, they must have been built in the 1960s, ugly looking bleak houses. The track leads up to Kelston Hill, but there is a left hand track down to an old farm just below the hill on the Newton Loe side, and it would be interesting to find out its history.
Given that as the boundary here could be the 'hogs back' ridge up to Kelston, there should be a spring somewhere round, the so called 'black spring' though to be quite honest most of the springs as they emerge from the earth look black. Miss Ash says that "Aethelare's land lay on the slopes of Lansdown and west of the present Lansdown Lane down to the river Avon". As I walked the furtherest boundary yesterday at the top of the Lansdown in beautiful weather, amongst old trees and fields, today's weather was overcast and grey, and my camera had run out of power. But what did strike me what a beautiful stretch of land he had in his possession, protected by a high scarp, graceful woods, and gentle sloping fields he was truly rich in the bounties of nature.
Partof Weston Wood