7th May – Hocktide which was a medieval English festival was generally celebrated on the second Tuesday after Easter. The men of the village would tie up the women and demand a kiss for their release. The following day thewomen would tie up the men and demand money for their release which would go to Parish funds. It is suggested that it celebrates the massacre of the Danes in the 11t
Country and County: Berkshire
The present pub dating from the 15th century stands on the site of an earlier Inn, in which King John is said to have quaffed ale on his way to sign the Magna Carta in 1215.
The Ostrich Inn has a more macabre tale related to the unscrupulous murder of wealthy guests. During the Middle ages a couple called the Jarmans owned the pub.
The origins of Bisham Abbey began with the Knight Templars, who built a preceptory here in the 12th century. The preceptory became an Augustine Priory and then a Benedictine Abbey in 1537. This did not last for long as the same year saw the dissolution of many Abbeys under Henry VIII, and the destruction of Bisham Abbey was soon to follow.
The castle was built by William the Conqueror and has been part of royal life and intrigue for nearly a thousand years.
The castle has a menagerie of royal ghosts. Henry VIII haunts the cloisters of the castle, announcing his presence his lumbering footsteps and the wheezing of his breath.
The tiny atmospheric parish church at Aldworth, contains numerous huge effigies of the De La Beche family. The figures are supposed to be life size representations, depicting knights all over seven feet tall. The De La Beche family were powerful landowners and knights in the 14th century.
There are many stories attached to this ancient royal park woodland, which was once a royal hunting ground and before that virgin forest. The stories all seem to suggest that the Park is haunted by an ancient supernatural being who represents lordship over animals and the masculine side of nature.
According to local legend, the bridge was haunted by the ghost of a man who met an unfortunate death here. During the 1920s a train travelling to Compton pulled to a halt with one of the carriages straddling the bridge. A male passenger stepped out of the door thinking the train had come to a halt at the platform, and fell to his death onto the road below.
To the West of Newbury lie the villages of Kintbury and Inkpen. From here, you can follow a pleasant country road climbing the chalk downs to the south. There are a couple of viewing places near the summit of Combe down, and the scenery is fantastic for miles around.
Here you will find Combe gibbet, and the remains of the Iron Age (600 BC to 50 AD) Walbury hill fort (SU3761).
Grims Ditches are a series of linear earthworks that stretch along part of the Berkshire border, to the Southeast of Wantage and Southwest of Chilton. The purpose of the ditches is not entirely clear but it is likely they had an enclosing function, to define land and protect it.