WAYLAND'S SMITHY

art: 1. Wayland's Smithy - off the Ridgeway; 2. Wayland's Smithy; 3.Wayland's Beech; 4. The Door to Wayland's Smithy

WAYLAND'S SMITHY, OXFORDSHIRE
Dating from around 3700BCE, this neolithic wedge-shaped chambered long barrow lies to the north of The Ridgeway and measures nearly 180’ in length, tapering from almost 50’ to 20’ in width. Excavations in 1962/3 confirmed that it was initially a wooden mortuary structure with an earthen mound covering a sarsen stone floor, and discovered the remains of 14 bodies. Pretty soon after the initial construction it was re-covered with the wedge-shaped mound and kerbed with sarsens. The cross-shaped burial chamber was dug in 1919 and burials of 7 adults and 1 child were found in the main chamber - but without any grave goods or thigh bones. Only 4 of the huge entrance stones remain, nearly 10’ in height. Legend had it that if your horse needed to be re-shod you could leave it with payment overnight and the Norse god Wayland the Smith would see to it by sunrise, a tale reiterated by Sir Walter Scott in Kenilworth and in local author Thomas Hughes’ Tom Brown’s Schooldays. Traditionally Wayland rode a great white horse, which ties in nicely with the hill carving just along The Ridgeway.
OS: SU.281.854 Along The Ridgeway, west of White Horse Hill. South of the B4057 south west of Uffington.


WAYLAND'S SMITHY - OFF THE RIDGEWAY
charcoal, A3, 2000, £80

Click HERE to read To a Sunset O'er Swindon: a Sonnet!


WAYLAND'S SMITHY
oil on canvas, 7" x 9", 2004, £72


WAYLAND'S BEECH
oil on canvas, 16" x 20", 2003, £99

Surrounded by silent beech trees, frequented by dowsers (and the occasional nearby burnt-out car), Wayland's Smithy will forever be the place to visit. This view is from within the main burial chamber. The art reviewer Tim Birch described the sky as "like oxygeneted blood", which I rather like.
Click HERE to read The Ridgeway (Pt 1)


THE DOOR TO WAYLAND'S SMITHY
ink & charcoal, A3, 2000, £70

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