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Mazes and Labyrinths


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Author Topic: Mazes and Labyrinths  (Read 2210 times)
Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #135 on: April 04, 2009, 11:49:28 pm »

This obelisk has indications of a sun-dial on the north face, with the words "A.B. hoc." On its south face it bears a coat of arms, engraved within a circle, and the inscription: "Sic transit gloria mundi. Gulielmus Sparrow, Gen., natus ano. 1641. Aetatis sui 88 quando obiit, hos gyros formavit anno 1660." On the east face is engraved, "William Sparrow departed this life the 25th August, Anno Domini 1729, aged 88 years." The west face bears only the words "Dep. hoc." Our photograph (Fig. 67) shows the obelisk and as much of the maze as could conveniently be included with the camera used. It will be noticed that the trenches between the paths are fairly wide and deeply cut.

The good state of preservation is no doubt greatly due to the fact, remarked by a writer of half a century ago, that the paths are made up with pebbles. No sign of the latter is now evident amongst the thick turf. The plan of the maze shows some interesting variations on the older and more conventional designs of Alkborough, Comberton, etc., the most remarkable point being that the path from the exterior to the centre is almost direct, the labyrinth proper being composed of paths which commence and terminate at the central plot. The Hilton maze appears to be unique in this respect.

Whatever may have been the original purpose of turf labyrinths in this country as a whole, it is fairly clear that the Hilton example at any rate was not made for ecclesiastical purposes if, as stated on the obelisk, it was constructed in 1660. On the other hand, the reflection that at that date Puritan influences were on the decline and the restoration of the Monarchy was imminent leads one to conclude that this somewhat exuberant design of a youth of nineteen was intended for purposes of rustic enjoyment.

Fig. 68 shows a labyrinth formerly incised in the turf of the marshes of Rockcliffe in Cumberland, near the shores of the Solway Firth. It covered a space of

p. 87

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