“Random encounters with the unusual” is a repository for the oddities that me and Mrs J have encountered on our travels, which we find interesting or amusing in some way. Have a look, maybe you will find something interesting or amusing herein.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Dead Man’s Plack

Just outside of Andover in Hampshire, hidden inside the Harewood Forest (near Longparish), a 19th century stone cross can be found. The cross was erected in 1825 by Lt. Col. William Iremonger.  The inscription on the cross commemorates an event that was believed to have occurred within the Forest in 963 and perhaps even at the very location of the cross.

As the story goes, King Edgar (great grandson of Alfred the Great), who was also known as “Edgar the Peaceful”, was looking for a Queen and had heard about the beauty of a lady called Elfrida. The King dispatched his adviser Earl Athelwold of Wherwell to check if the claims of Elfrida’s beauty were true, and if so, he was ordered to present the King’s offer of marriage. However, after meeting Elfrida, Athelwold (presumably enraptured by her beauty) decided to marry her himself and to report to the King that she was not suitable for him to marry. King Edgar, not being easily duped, found out about the deception and by way of repayment killed Athelwold during a hunt in Harewood Forest. Whether this story is true or not is hard to tell but it lends an interesting reason to search out this isolated spot.

The monument.
The monument from behind.
Inscription on the monument.
Close-up of cross.
Alfred the Great in Winchester.
Information board.
Pictures, Hampshire (June 2013).

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