Sunday, 27 March 2011

Exorcism Required

Autosuggest on Windows 7 suggested the following when I typed in "Birdless Cuddesdon" into my web-browser: "Birdless Grove". Immediately suspecting an act of plagiarism from the Oxfordshire village of Grove, I began to investigate. However, Birdless Grove has far more history then Birdless Cuddesdon and turns out to be a Beech plantation on the Chichester Estate near Goodwood in Sussex with a history of hauntings, poems and even racehorses:

"The 3rd Duke of Richmond inherited just 1,100 acres of land including a park around the house of 200 acres.  He carried out a huge planting programme, adding to the plantations his father had originated behind the house.  Like his father, he used exotica such as tulip trees and magnolias, and he added more cork oaks.  From 1761 he planted a thousand cedars of Lebanon.  Some of the evergreen plantations over to the right of the racecourse had grown well by the 1830s, but the area at the top of the hill was later replanted with beech, becoming known as Birdless Grove"

The sinister nature of Birdless Grove is hinted at in a poem by Christina Hook

"I peered into the birdless grove
The silence fell like snow
Dark, dense the trees, the branches wove
A tunnel, long and low.
The living leaves scarce moved above
Nor fallen ones below.
A sunless sphere whereon I strove
It’s mystery to know.
No creature in this birdless grove
Where spring flowers cease to grow
No peasant boy would chance to rove
Nor no man dare to go.
Oh! Come not near the birdless grove
Where darkest forces flow"

Best of all though is the reference to Birdless Grove on the (quite frankly bonkers) Sussex Paranormal Investigators website (SPI - geddit?):  
"The Ring is a haunted place, the trees are said to be birdless because of the haunting as in other examples in Sussex, such as Birdless Grove near Goodwood". 

At last an explanation of the Birdless nature of Cuddesdon, the birds are driven away by hauntings! Ghosts of past birders perhaps? What with Ripon Theological College in the village, you would think any ghosts would be driven away by the sheer number of trainee vicars present on any given day. Unless the vicars are not the forces of good they claim they are...

There is even a racehorse named Birdless Grove, though as you can see from his stats, in true Cuddesdon style he never came in the top three in any of his 12 races:
I am off to exorcise the ghosts of migrants past and to try and drag some into the present. Then I'll be down the bookies putting some money on Birdless Cuddesdon to win the 3.40 at Goodwood.

1 comment:

  1. Hello,
    This blog-post is all about the exorcism.The expulsion or attempted expulsion of a supposed evil spirit from a person or place is just super.
    Born Again Ministry Website