The Story of a Sussex Landmark
Chanctonbury Ring on the South Downs has been an iconic landmark for Sussex inhabitants and visitors for over two hundred years. However, the ring of trees, most of which were destroyed by the great storm of 1987 and replanted in 1990, covers another ring, the c. 750 BC (Late Bronze Age) earthwork, or hillfort. This earlier Ring, which contains the remains of a Romano-Celtic and Romano-British temple complex, has a very special atmosphere that draws people to it. Set within a much older landscape, it also attracted the sixteen-year-old Charles Goring of Wiston House, who planted his beeches and other trees around the perimeter in 1760, ‘on some auspicious day’, as his poem of 1828 reveals. This richly illustrated talk reveals the history of the area, a murder on the hill in 1330, the tree species involved over the centuries and a spate of literary outpourings about Chanctonbury Ring by nineteenth and twentieth century novelists, poets and travel writers.