Acleah, that is, Junction 7 of the M25? Part 2: Ockley Wood and environs

This post concerns the second half of my walk over the North Downs of East Surrey – first half here if you need to catch up – which now seems a long time ago but in fact was not (my perception may have something to do with the weather outside being decidedly autumnal in a way it was not on the day nor in the intervening weeks). More to the point, it brings me to the primary place of interest and reason for undertaking the walk, Ockley Wood, candidate for the site of the 851 battle of Acleah. If my hypothesis is correct, it took place here or hereabouts:

Medieval motorway, in a manner of speaking...

A medieval motorway, in a manner of speaking…

You’ll gather that, as early medieval battle-sites go, it’s far from pristine. Never mind the past 1,160 years or so, the past 40 years have been tough on Ockley Wood, drastically reducing its size and as part of the construction of the section of the M25 between Junctions 6 and 8 which opened in 1976. I wanted to see what could still be learned about the topography of the area in spite of these vicissitudes, and was pleased to discover there was more to be pieced together than I thought. At the end of it, I still cannot claim to have amassed sufficient evidence to state outright that the battle of 851 took place here (nor that it was the earlier-attested lost Southumbrian synod site), but my walk left me with more positive indications than when I set out on my walk. I’ll leave it to you to click on the numbers below and reach your own conclusion – by all means let me know your thoughts in the comments field below…

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About Robert J S Briggs

Back to being a part-time early medievalist; Surrey born, London based, been known to travel
This entry was posted in Anglo-Saxon, Archaeology, Barrows, History, Landscape, Place, Place-Names, Portable Antiquities Scheme, Religion, Surrey, Topography, Viking, Wessex and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Acleah, that is, Junction 7 of the M25? Part 2: Ockley Wood and environs

  1. Pingback: Around the Archaeology Blog-o-sphere Digest #8 | Doug's Archaeology

  2. Pingback: Another Surrey candidate site for the battle of Acleah? | Surrey Medieval

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