Turf Cut Maze - Age Uncertain
Alkborough, North Lincolnshire OS Map Ref SE879217
OS Maps - Landranger 112 (Scunthorpe & Gainsborough), Explorer 281 (Ancholme Valley)
Julian's Bower after the recutting of 2007
fine example of a turf-cut maze (sometimes known as a miz-maze), Julian's Bower
stands on a hillside overlooking the confluence of the River Ouse and River Trent,
with an earthwork known as Countess Close above it. No-one knows who originally
cut this 12 metre maze (technically a Labyrinth - as it has a single entrance
and path), or when, but it is only first recorded in 1697 by Abraham de la Pryme.
Several theories exist, and you may take your pick from the following:-
The idea of the maze comes from the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur. Theseus, son of King Aegeus of Athens used a ball of wool given to him by Ariadne to mark his way through the labyrinth of the Minotaur in Crete, slayed the monster and retraced his steps with the aid of the thread and so to safety.
History also tells us that Julius, the son of Aeneas (a Trojan warrior who appears in Homer's Iliad and Virgil's Aeneid) brought the idea of turf-cut mazes to Italy from Troy after it was destroyed by the Greeks.
Another theory is that the maze was
carved by a small cell of monks who lived in this area until the 13th century.
Another story relates that St. Julian
the Hospitaller, who set up a hostelry after accidentally killing his parents
was one night visited by a leper. As there were no spare beds, he offered his
own to he traveler, who then turned into an angel.
Google satellite view of Julian's Bower (zoom and pan)
Plan of Julian's Bower
Copy of the maze on the floor of the church porch
Another copy of the maze on a cross in the cemetery
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