The Long Man of Wilmington

The Domesday Book records a nearby hundred to the Long Man as being called Wandelmestrei which means ‘Tree of The Helmed Waendel’. The Long Man is thus Waendel and the tree is presumably the 1,600 year-old Yew Tree in the churchyard in the village of Wilmington. No local records of this name can be found, at least not openly for there are hints here and there. The village name itself – Wilmington – could be a corruption of ‘Waendel’s Ton’; this is not out of the question because we have the town called Wellingborough in the East Midlands a corruption of ‘Waendel’s Borough’. Not a couple of miles away is an area called Willingdon’, again a possible corruption of ‘Waendel’s Ton’; ‘Willingdon’ is closer to ‘Welling Borough’. So, there is a possibility that these names could be linked to Waendel. The name ‘Wandelmestrei’ is rendered ‘Waendel – helm – treo’ or ‘Waendel-helm-tree’ in translation. This actually suggests a reason why we have the village name ‘Wilm-ing-ton’ which thus appears to be a corruption of Waendel’s -ing – ton’.

Waendel is Orvandil (Or-Wandil) who is an Archer-God figure who features in the Tale of Hamlet. He is the son of Ivalde of one of the Elven Clans of Norse Mythology. There is also an Old English Earendel who is associated with the planet Venus – the Morning Star. Earendel features prominently in the Book of Lost Tales by J.R.R. Tolkien. Earendel can be seen as Ear-Wandel, and in this sense it is thus strange to recall that the hill-figure is shaped as either the Ear-Rune or Cweorth-Rune of the Old English Rune-Row. This rune-shape occurs only in the Old English Rune-Row.

The name Waendel possibly means ‘to wander’, ‘to wend’ and thus linked to the ancient Teutonic Tribe of the Vandals. Indeed, some fifteen miles from the hill-figure is Hastings, named after the Haestingas who were a Royal Line of the Vandals. Just down the road is Polegate, a name originally spelt ‘Polgate’; rather than ‘Pool Gate’ as has been suggested this may be ‘Pol’s Gate’ and thus linked to the Sun-God, Baeldaeg. The name ‘Pol’ for Baeldaeg can be found in various areas of Germany, and also in many names around England. There is also a nearby Wannock, a name which could suggest Woden (‘Wan’) or even another corruption from Waendel.

The shape of the Long Man, and that of the two rune-staves mentioned earlier, is that of the constellation of Cygnus the Swan. This is a summer constellation seen overhead here in the North-West around August; it is in ‘The Summer Triangle’ in the Northern Skies. This figure is in the East of Southern England, whilst its ‘winter’ counterpart, the Cerne Abbas Giant (Herne the Hunter), is in the West. One is of the Dawn-Summer and the other of the Dusk-Winter. Cygnus the Swan was a very important constellation to the ancients.

Waendel could be linked to the Norse Mundilfore who is the God of Cyclic Time and the World-Turner associated with the Precession of the Equinoxes. The hill-figure is also that of the April Fool which is an aspect of Woden. Near to the figure is Hunter’s Burgh which suggests a link to Herne the Hunter, which itself links to the Archer-God mentioned before. Above the figure is a phallic-shaped Long-Barrow on Windover Hill, and some round barrows next to the South Downs Way trackway. (Again, ‘Windover’ itself may be connected to Waendel; we can see corruptions of some names in a similar way, such as ‘Wandsyke’ is ‘Woden’s Dyke’, and there are many more such names.)

The two ‘staffs’ were most likely spears when the figure was first carved out of the chalk-stone. Since the name may mean ‘Helmed Waendel’ he would also have had a helmet, much like the figure found on the ‘Dancing Warriors’ of the Sutton Hoo Mask, and the warrior on the Finklesham Buckle in Kent, as well as bracteates found in Sweden. The Long Man points to the north, suggesting that he guards a ‘gateway’ or ‘portal’ to the Midnight Mountain and to Thule.

The Long Man was called ‘The Green Man’ in the Nineteenth Century, and this would fit with the idea of spring and the ‘April Fool’. ‘The Green Man’ is the ‘Lord of the Trees’ – Herne the Hunter – who may be linked to this area through Hunter’s Burgh. This is a comet-shaped barrow to the East of the hill-figure; it once had a small thorn tree on top of it, but this has been cut down. The Ear-Rune has the basic meaning of ‘Earth’, but it can also mean ‘water’ too; another possibility is the link with Orwandil where the prefix or- means ‘arrow’. The Cweorth-Rune is of a similar shape and means ‘Fire-Twirl’ or ‘Cremation Fire’; these suggest some kind of transformation by fire. Sweorth is the Old English for ‘sword’ and swart is the Old English for ‘black’ (as in blackened by fire).

The lines that make up the Cweorth-Rune, if changed around a bit, make up the Peorth-Rune, another rune with a similar sound. The latter is the Rune of Wyrd, the ‘Dice-Cup’ and is also a ‘portal’ or ‘gateway’; this suggests that the Long Man is a ‘portal’ of some kind, as suggested earlier. There is no ‘p’ sound in the Teutonic Tongue, thus ‘Peorth’ may be a play-on-words for ‘Weorth’, as well as the given meaning. ‘Weorth’ is Wyrd meaning ‘to become’, and it is also ‘worth’ meaning that which one puts out, one’s worth.

Many of the figures which seem similar to the ‘Green Man’ are that of the Wuduwasa or ‘Woodwose’ as it became sounded. These figures hold a club and are adorned with bark or leaves; many of the ‘Green Man’ figures have the tongue sticking out of the side of the mouth, hinting of a link to Woden as the ‘God of the Hanged’. The Wuduwasa is a dim remembrance of Woden, and both are linked together. The Cerne Abbas Giant holds a club just as the Wuduwasa does; this is a very old depiction of Woden, linked to the Teutonic Mannerbunde God.

In view of the links to an ‘archer’ the 1,600 year-old Yew-Tree may well be a clue to this; the Yew-Tree is associated with (Ullr) who is a Ski-God and Bow-God in Norse Mythology. The Saxons (who dwelt in this area) called him Wuldor, a name meaning ‘shining’ or ‘brilliant’. The Yew is the ‘Tree of Immortality’ since it has long life, and some yews can actually regenerate themselves from within as the tree dies without. There is an Old English rune called Eoh which stems from the IE Root *aiw meaning ‘life-force’, ‘eternal’, or ‘eternity’; the rune-sound is also related to Eh meaning ‘horse’. There is a (somewhat modern) White Horse west of the hill-figure on a place called Hindover or ‘High and Over’.

Another famous ‘archer’ is Robin Hood, the most famous English Folk-Hero, named after Woden, it would seem – ‘Fame-Bright Hooden’. ‘Hooden’ is a name used of Woden in Kent – The Hooded Man. In the Robin of Sherwood series Robin Hood is linked to ‘The Fool’ of the Tarot – the April Fool. The Ur-Archetype of ‘Robin Hood’ is AEgil the Archer, brother to Weland the Smith; AEgil may be another title of Orwandil – Or-Waendel. There is also another way to see this name, as Ur-Waendel which would mean ‘Primal Waendel’. This area does have links to The Hooded Man.


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