Search

Primrose Hill celebrated by Druids as ancient holy site

15:55 03 October 2012

Druids mark the Autumn Equinox on Primrose Hill 22.09.12.

Druids mark the Autumn Equinox on Primrose Hill 22.09.12.

Archant

It may look like a place of worship in the summer – droves of Londoners desperate for a patch of grass under the leafy trees or a picnic spot overlooking the city.

But no one has been paying Primrose Hill spiritual heed for as long as the Druids.

To them the grassy knoll is seeped in far more than mottled sunlight – it’s a holy mound, appearing in ancient Celtic maps of the British Isles.

On Saturday (September 22), dozens of Druids, clad in long white robes and chanting mystical hymns, made their way up the hill to mark the autumn equinox, as they have been doing for 200 years.

The Druid order, which is an ancient pagan religion, follows the flow of the seasons, marking the changes at four sites across the UK.

One is the famous Stonehenge, which was ravaged by hippy festival-goers in the 1970s, but is back to its former heavenly state today – and is still emitting the positive energy which the Druids recognized back in the Iron Age.

Another is Primrose Hill.

Susan Winter, who took part in the ceremony on Saturday and has been a practising Druid for 30 years, explained the ancient significance of the green space.

“For hundreds of years, the Druids had to be secret,” said Susan, who lives in Beckenham, Kent, and is the director of a health and beauty shop.

“It would have been dangerous for them because it was prohibited at that time.

“But in 1717 a Druid priest announced they were finally going to have their first meeting in public, and it was on Primrose Hill.”

She added: “There is an ancient mound on Primrose Hill. It’s a Celtic site and if you look at maps of ancient mounds of the British Isles, it’s marked there.

“Some places people are just drawn to, not just because of the view. People sit down and want to spend time there. There’s something positive about the energy of the place.”

Susan said: “At Primrose Hill, the public have always been very respectful of what we’re doing.

“A lot of people sat down and listened when the chief gave his talk. It reminds people that it’s autumn and people seem to enjoy it – it marks the rhythm of life.”

A plaque atop the hill commemorates the Welsh Druid priest who first called the meeting in 1717 – and William Blake, who was part of the Druid order, has had his poetic words inscribed in stone on the hill.

Fans of pop group Blur have also flocked to Primrose Hill over the years to see graffiti lyrics “And The View’s So Nice” inscribed on one of its paths inspired by the band’s song For Tomorrow.

The lyrics were removed by Royal Parks, which manages Primrose Hill, earlier this year because they were classed as graffiti.

Blur fans campaigned for the landmark to be reinstated and the lines to be inscribed on the stone circle on the top of Primrose Hill, but Blake’s poetry was chosen instead.

0 comments

Latest News Stories

08:30
Fireworks on Primrose Hill

The Mayor of London’s office has hit back at claims Primrose Hill was left “trashed” during New Year’s Eve celebrations, saying the thousands of revellers who came to the village “exited in an orderly fashion”.

Yesterday, 18:21
Police officers investigating the death of pensioner Philip Silverstone at Spencer House sheltered flats in Belsize Park Gardens last year. Picture: Nigel Sutton

A man on trial for murdering a Belsize pensioner in his own home has been found dead in his prison cell.

Yesterday, 18:10
Dr Michael Jacobs and Pauline Cafferkey, who has made a complete recovery from Ebola and been discharged from the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead. Picture: Scotland on Sunday/Lisa Ferguson

A Scottish nurse who was being treated for Ebola at the Royal Free Hospital has made a complete recovery and is now free of the virus.

Yesterday, 17:10
Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena leaves Southwark Crown Court. Picture: PA

A young mother who allegedly had female genital mutilation (FGM) performed on her at the Whittington Hospital was “let down” by medics, a midwife has told jurors.

Most read news

As the public inquiry into the spy’s death gets under way, we take a look at what we already know about the man affectionately known as ‘Sasha’.

#Facebookdown! Here’s how the internet reacted to the outage.

Start the random government generator; even the experts can’t agree on what’s going to happen come May.

There’s 100 days to go until the election, but what happens on day 101?

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24
Our trusted business finder