The Meeting of Ancient Paths

I referred to Graham Robb and his book, The Ancient Paths, at the end of my article, Grave suspicions. It’s the builders’ fault. Well, I’ve had a few moments free time to scan through it, and there are some quite amazing synchronicites.

Several times I’ve mentioned how elements of the Mabinogion have cropped up while on this journey with Ffraed, and how there are noteworthy connections concerning Pembrokeshire and Oxford – a place where I have spent the greater part of my life. There is a strong Welsh connection with two colleges, Pembroke and Jesus Colleges. I’ve previously too talked about Dragons and their affinity with Oxford, in so many ways.The centre at Oxford is a Dragon location in the Mabinogion. We have also discovered that Y Ddraig Ffraed leaves the coast of the Isles at St. Bride’s.

One of the dragon sculptures perched around Carfax in Oxford.


Well, in his work Robb has found some of the underlying truth hidden within the Mabinogion, and it’s to do with sacred geometry – something we shouldn’t be surprised at.

What he’s found, amongst other fascinating discoveries,  is that a parallel runs through the Isles that matches the codes in the Mabinogion, particularly,  as it concerns this blog, the ‘breadth of the country’. In his measured text he shows how this is one of the most important jewels in the ‘treasure chest’ that contains the British Druidic system, and a map of the Poetic Isles before the Roman invasion. ‘The Oxford parallel’, as he calls it, flows from east to west through Maldon, on the Blackwater Estuary in Essex, ChelmsfordVerlamionOxfordBagendonLlandogoMerthyr TydfilCoygan Camp…and reaches the coast at St. Bride’s, in Pembrokeshire. Ring a bell?

Here is another occasion where a cartographer,  or a skilled surveyor, or Google Earth-er would come in very handy. Graham Robb has the line ending at Tower Point, at St. Bride’s. Now, what I don’t know is how wide his pencil line allowance is, nor indeed what the Ancients decided upon.

On, and very close to this line as it makes its way across the Isles, there are many present-day conurbations, villages, hamlets, and known ancient sites. In the list above I have only mentioned the ones that he has – though he also shows Bradwell, just off the line, as a possible start of the Oxford Parallel in the east. Due to coastal erosion and the sea coming in the land where the line would go exactly is below the waves.

Some more examples on the line or just off it. Again, how thick is the line? Maybe he says, will have to find time to read the book.

the Devil’s Quoits at Stanton Harcourt
Lew Barrow
R.A.F. Brize Norton (that’s very intriguing).
A 3-corner-ed wood at 51.751690 -1.8064356
Welsh Way near Perrott’s Brook (Perrott was a big historical character in Pembrokeshire – said to be the illegitimate brother of Elizabeth 1). 51.750946   -1.9571543
Another 3-corner-ed wood at Edgeworth Polo Club


St. Bride’s

Y Ddraig flows through Tower Point, as we know, but might it be even more thrilling if Robb’s line actually drove through where Ffraed leaves the Isles? (The feature image is a close up of Ffraed’s crystal-encrusted train where She leaves the coast.)

Robb’s line to Tower Point strikes through Y Ddraig’s path in many places besides this rath, including South HillSt. Bride’s Abbey and the church of St. Bridget, both with all those spirals. It goes through the former site of the chapel and the spot where the potential Ogham script is located (still no news from archaeologists).

(I visited the other day – the storms have almost buried the script with sand and pebbles, and made mincemeat out of the cliffs. These are now bare and crumbling rock and in danger of falling.) More powerful storms are predicted.

Anyway I hope to be able to find a way to contact Graham Robb. If any subscriber can help that would be very much appreciated. Meanwhile, I can certainly recommend his book, it’s fascinating.

I’ve just noticed that the Book Depository has 27% of the price at the moment.

The Ancient Paths

5th December 2017


Addendum  5th December 2017


Graham Robb has the omphalos of Oxford at the former site of Osney Abbey. This is a stone’s throw from where I ran conferences (Oxford Talks) in the early 2000s.

When he wrote the book, I wonder, did he know of the Oxford Henge? Much has come to light (because some things are impossible to hide) that supports what I’ve written in this 2008 article (re-formatted 2015 from my previous site):

Now you see it…Now you don’t: The Oxford Henge
There has still not been the promised exhibition.

…and what I said at the end of my storyA School in the marshes, has been borne out.
Archaeologists Uncover Prehistoric Landscape Beneath Oxford University, England


Tom Quad

Robb doesn’t mention this further striking point of interest either, and I wonder if it is an intentional omission, because surely he must have noticed. His line appears to be focussed on the latitude of 51.75. On this latitude is Tom Quad, in Oxford’s Christ Church College, the Great Quadrangle. In the centre of the quad is a small round pond with a statue of Hermes (Mercury) in it. The quad incorporates a cross and circular pathway which although describing a Christian cross, also resembles  gun-sites, with the  statue as the bull’s eye. Images here

The tale goes that the pond was originally dug to hold water, under the directions of the then Dean, John Fell (born St. John’s Eve, 1625), in case of yet another fire – which suggests that there is a spring under it (or should be, because a small pond that isn’t fed isn’t much use without one).

Christ Church College is built on the site of what was once St. Frideswide’s Priory. Frideswide is the patron saint of the City and the University of Oxford; and as I’ve suggested before is likely to be the British Ffraed disguised, and not an Anglo-Saxon Abbess. In that tongue  Frideswide is called Frithuswith but the ‘Fride’ of Frideswide is pronounced the same as Ffraed, and sometimes spelled like that. There is a shrine in the cathedral to Frideswide.

The legend says that Frideswide caused a new spring to rise near a pig-sty at a place called Binsey, which is just outside the city – but within it, one could say. This spring became famed as a healing well and was renowned for curing eyes and infertility especially. Even Henry VIIIth and Catherine of Aragon came calling here. The first and only English pope was a vicar of St. Margaret’s (of Antioch) – a dragon-slaying saint. It’s another place where I have had something strange happen. (I’ll link that story at the end of this.)

Now, this is very relevant.  Soon after the pond was dug, in 1670, the senior Canon, Dr Gardiner, (or so the story goes) presented a functional work of art to stand in the centre of the water-hole, on condition that it was ‘ever hereafter repaired’; not of Mercury though, no, guess what it was of?  A globe with a serpent wrapped around it acting as a fountain. This representation of an Earth Dragon current, connected geomantically and historically with St. Bride’s, Ffraed, stood for 25 years.

Dr. Gardiner’s house had burned down in 1669, in a great fire. This all sounds like an attempt at magickal quelling to me. Maybe it worked too. The statue, however, was replaced with the first ‘Mercury’ (there have been two), in 1695. Another 25 years later and Christchurch went up again. This first statue was destroyed in 1807 by a future (3 times) prime minister when he was a student. The present one was erected in 1928.


Addendum 25th June 2019

I’ve still not had a chance to read Robb’s book (any book actually), but I picked up his Ancient Paths this rainy morning to check on something. He does, as, sadly, the greater number of numbed academics are beset to do, turn away from the mystical side of what he’s been encouraged to investigate. He disses ley lines in the book, which (and this brings me to why I was looking in his book) he doesn’t mention the Michael and Mary line leaving the coast at what looks like, to me, about the same place his Pendinas line does. Strangely, he gives no name for that eastern point in the book, that I can see.  Miller and Broadhurst do for the great serpents, Hopton-on-sea. Perhaps a Google Earther could check.

Another detail of interest is that the Oxford line that runs from St. Bride’s, in Pembrokeshire goes through a reclaimed island called Ramsey Island, before it leaves the Essex coast. ‘Ramsey Island’ is the same dub as the one off the St. David’s peninsular, near to where Y Ddraig Ffraed slips in and out of the sea at t’other end of Her, to St. Bride’s).

25th June 2019

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