play on ancient ground, heedless
of the looming light.
The Knowlton Church was built in the twelfth century, about four thousand years after the creation of the Neolithic earthwork upon whose center it stands. This earthwork, known as a “henge”, is one of almost a hundred such earthworks throughout Britain and Ireland that date from about 3,000 to 2,000 B.C.
Like Stonehenge, this earthwork we call Church Henge would have been a ceremonial site; along with three smaller henges nearby and the largest barrow (burial mound) in the county, they form a complex where Neolithic Pagans would have conducted some of the most important activities of their lives: worshipping, conducting business, celebrating life, and mourning death.
Even though it makes sense for the typically pre-emptive Normans and the institution of their Christian faith to build a church of flint and stone on top of a Pagan ceremonial ground, Knowlton Church and the earthworks stand as a curious and unusual pairing symbolizing the transition from Paganism to Christianity.
Zoom into the map below to see the church and earthworks from above.
April is National Poetry Writing Month; celebrate by writing a poem.