Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/347

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Hampshire Folklore. 311

along it, and gossiped with the country-folk, and, ' of course everyone knows' it is the old cattle road from the west country, deserted byway though it be for the most part where not swallowed up by arable land or modern coverts. For now that the high road has never a toll gate there is no need to take the rougher, older track because that road is free. ' As everyone knows', it was obviously useless to ask questions, — that stamps you as a stranger, a foe in the midst, — but I gathered ' it always had been,' — and significantly connected with it is another ' always has been,' the annual fair at Weyhill, the great mart of these districts since before the memory of man. I do not hesitate to put trackways and fair back to that dim past which lies in the ages before ever a Roman chronicler set curious foot on the storm-bound isle of the west. For, if there was neutral ground on which the ancient markets were held,-^ would not the trackways lead- ing thereto be neutral ground likewise, even in those chaotic days when every man's hand was against his neighbour ?

But we have not yet done with the Devil. He was concerned with the removal of sundry places from their original sites. In two instances, Winchester and Christ- church, the buildings were first begun on a height already occupied with earthworks, and thence transferred to the valley. Old Winchester Hill is such a distance from the city that one is inclined to imagine the myth must have grown out of the name, — yet how came it to be called Old Winchester } At Christchurch the foundations of the Saxon monastry and churches were laid at the top of St. Catherine's Hill, but were nightly destroyed, till the builders took the lesson to heart and were content to build in the valley. At Godshill in the Island, and at Nursling, the churches were also removed. I do not know if the site first chosen was in the vicinity of any earth- work, but the Island church was commenced in the valley,

^ Gomme, The Village Community.