25 May, 2007
Cerne Abbas Giant
The Cerne Abbas Giant or the 'Rude Man' is the largest hillfigure in Britain, he (the figure's gender is beyond doubt) is one of two representations of the human form, the other being the Long Man of Wilmington in East Sussex. The giant, carved in solid lines from the chalk bedrock measures in at 180 feet high, and carries a huge knobbled club, which measures 120 feet in length.
The first written record of the giant appears in 1751 in a letter by Dorset historian John Hutchins, he suggested that the figure was cut in the mid 1600's.
Just above the giant's head is a small Iron Age earthwork which encloses a roughly square piece of land, this is known as the 'Frying Pan' or the 'Trendle' and it was within this enclosure that the Mayday Maypole was erected during the festival celebrations. Like many traditional village Maypole ceremonies this practice died out in the 19th century.