King Lud's Entrenchments

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The mysterious 'King Lud's Entrenchments'. Click above to see photos.

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Lud, King of the Britons. Reigned c.73-58BC.

King Lud (click to enlarge.)

King Lud’s Entrenchents; I’d seen the wonderful description on an OS map (above) but hadn’t a clue what they were. I assumed they must be pre-roman, tribal defences – perhaps marking the boundary between kingdoms. Much like the famous Offa’s Dyke on the Welsh border.

The site is about two miles outside of Croxton, on the road to Wyville, – on the right hand side, just before a road junction. The various ‘Camp Sites (disused)’ marked on the map shows how extensively the area all around here was used by the army in WWII. But since the camps were abandoned, the area had been allowed to return to its natural state, and was very wooded and overgrown.

This has suddenly all changed. The farmer has completely cleared the area* – which means that it’s probably the best time to see the defences. The problem is that it’s private land – but with apologies to the land-owner (I did try to phone), I sneaked through a gate and took a series of photos. To view them, simply click on the map at the top of the page and use your right arrow key to flip through the photos.

I’ve only managed to find a limited amount of information about King Lud (click here for one page). He was said to be responsible for the building of a number of cities, as well as the refortification of London. He gave his name to Ludgate in London – and is supposedly buried there. The 12th century historian, Geoffrey of Monmouth, says that the very name, London, can be traced to King Lud (although this is discounted by modern scholars). He writes:

After Lud, the brother of Cassivellaunus, who fought Julius Caesar, had seized command of the government of the kingdom, he surrounded the capital with lofty walls and with towers built with extraordinary skill, and he ordered it to be called Kaerlud, or Lud’s City, from his own name. Thereafter, we are told the town was renamed by the legendary King Lud as Kaerlud, then Kaerlundein, and eventually London.

Notes

If anyone can provide any more information about King Lud and his entrenchments, please leave a comment below – or get in touch using the contact page.

*We were a bit concerned that the farmer had cleared the land prior to ‘grubbing up’ the furrows. But Richard Snodin discovered that it’s being done in conjunction with English Heritage and a ‘Countryside Stewardship Scheme’. So perhaps they are planning to make more of a feature of the earthworks. Let’s hope so.

This site has some good info on the earthworks, including this excerpt:
King Lud’s Intrenchments were long considered to be Saxon – the King Lud in question being Ludeca of Mercia (a bit too far for King Lud, legendary founder of London?). However, it’s now thought that the bank and ditches are prehistoric and part of an extensive boundary system stretching from Northamptonshire to the Humber: the ‘Jurassic Spine’. The Intrenchments cross it at right angles. Three banks run parallel, separated by two ditches (one originally V-shaped, the other U-shaped, apparently). To the East they join a prehistoric trackway called Sewstern Lane (Sewstern Drift). The parish boundary runs along their entire length.

(I didn’t know Sewstern Lane was a prehistoric trackway.)

2 Comments

  1. Richard Snodin

    And just yards from the intriguing King Lud’s Entrenchments earthworks it is still possible to descend into a large World War 11 air raid shelter, a relic of the wartime airfield – history within living memory..

  2. Thanks for the comment on TMA and the link to your photos. I wonder if you’ve seen this book; it has more on the Driftway.

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