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and Clifton (Hampden) in Oxfordshire, both on the Thames. These are named from apparent cleavages of hills by rivers; in the case of "Whitecliff" the cleavage is the work of a road. A "cliff" similarly formed is a conspicuous feature in the Missenden valley. Verstegan, writing in 1605, apparently speaks of "Whitclif” as a common local name; "Radclif was understood at the first for Redclif, as Whitclif for White-clif, both denoting the colour, as other like names do the fashion or situation, of their clifs." Many minor "white cliffs," or clefts, may be seen in the "eaves,"* or edge, of the Chiltern Hills; there is a noticeable one at Great Kimble. Leland, describing the "townlet" of Wendover, says that it "standeth partly upon the north-east cliffs of Chiltern Hills."


Antiquaries are too often prone to the display of learning rather than the exercise of common sense. Hence the crazy suggestion that the name is really "Wiglaf" or "Wiglife." The latter worthy, according to an authority who shall here be nameless, was "the grandson of Woden, and father of Hengist and Horsa, the Saxon chieftains." Turning to Gibson's "Chronicon Saxonicum" (p. 13), we find that find that "Hengest" and "Horsa" were sons of "Wihtgilsa," the son "Wecta," the son of Woden. All these alleged descendants of Woden are as mythical as their ancestor. Even were this otherwise, "Wihtgilsa" cannot be made, by any process of probable phonetic change, into "Whiteleaf;" nor is it easy to imagine any plausible connection between Woden's grandson and Monks' Risborough. Another wiseacre connects Whiteleaf with a Saxon "king" named "Wiglaf." In Lappenberg's "Genealogy of the Kings of Mercia," a personage of this name is casually mentioned, and the title of King of Mercia is assigned him. He does not, however, figure in the list of reigning "kings." Little or nothing appears to be known about him; and the reader might take him to be equally mythical with "Wiglife." This, however, is not the case. There certainly once was a chieftain, or "king," somewhere in West Mercia, whose

"Hrisanbeorgan on Cilternes efese" (Saxon Charter printed

in Kemble).


name is variously spelt "Wiglafus," "Wilaf," "Uitlaf," and "Uilaf." The true spelling is evidently "Wihtláf," for we find "Wihtláfesfeld" and "Wihtláfes gemæru as the original forms of Whittlesfield and Whittlesmere (both in Worcestershire). According to Higden's "Polychronicon" (lib. v.) he died in 838, in the 13th year of his reign. Nothing justifies us in supposing that the dominions of this potent monarch ever extended so far eastward as the Chiltern hills, or that he had anything to do with the monument here investigated. One fact about Wiglaf is worth remembering. Lappenberg tells us that the name "" Anglia" first met with in one of his charters, dated on the day of St. Augustine, 833, and witnessed by Egbert of Wessex and the bishops and greater noblemen of all England (pontifices et proceres majores totius Anglia). At this date the vale of Aylesbury was practically part of Wessex, and Eálmund, or Alkmund, Egbert's father, when Peter Langtoft, the "old rhyming chronicler "* erroneously calls Ailric, was in possession of the principal military positions in the neighbourhood:

"Ailric was his father, a duke of fairé fame,
Lord of Wicombe, of Redynges, and of Tame.

To these keys of the military position we may safely add Amersham, which bears Eálmund's name to this day; in Domesday it is Elmondesham. Agmondesham, an alternative form, is apparently based on the original alternative form Alkmund. Doubtless Eálmund drove from the Amersham valley Danish colonists from the neighbouring valley in Hertfordshire (still known as the "Danes' " Hundred), in virtue of whose settlement Coleshill in Amersham parish was reckoned part of the "Danes'" Hundred until quite recently-and secured the Amersham valley as a route to London. All these parts, at the Norman Conquest, seem to have been peopled by stout Saxons. William did not venture to approach London by Reading, Wycombe, or Amersham; he took the road through the Danes' Hundred, by way of Berkhamstead.

Or rather his translator, Robert Manning. Peter wrote in



Wiglaf," in the circumstances, seems inadmissible as the true form of Whiteleaf; nor is it probable that the latter word is founded on any personal name whatever. The Cross is evidently named from


which it surmounts; and the lowest part of this White Cliff, abruptly rising from the high road, is obviously due to the gradual wearing down of the road itself. This road was originally a track-way leading from the village of Monks' Risborough to the downs and woodlands where the villagers, long before Julius Cæsar landed in Britain, depastured their sheep, goats, and pigs, and cut timber and brushwood for building and fuel. By the attrition. of years a long cutting was formed in the base of the steep chalk hill; this is the original " White Cliff," and is doubtless, at least in its rudiments, nearer two than one thousand years old. The village track way grew into something of more importance. It became a county thoroughfare; it was, in fact, in comparatively recent times the common horse and drift road from Hampden, the Missenden and Amersham valley, and the MidChiltern district generally in the east, to Thame, Oxford, Woodstock, Wallingford, and Wessex generally in the west. Often must John Hampden have traversed it in his youth, riding to school at Thame and to college at Oxford. Travellers on this road cross the Icknield Way at the hamlet of Whitecliff; and this crossing, if I am right, was



"Cross" is the usual name for such crossings. We still speak of them generically as cross roads." Other crossings on the Icknield Way were called "Crosses"; that in the neighbouring parish of Ellesborough is still called "Butler's Cross." Similarly we have "Handy

On referring to a newspaper report of the Society's meeting at Monks' Risborough, in 1864, I find it stated that the village children have long been in the habit of sliding down the cross, seated on the faggots got in the woodlands. From this practice the lower part of the cross probably acquired the name of the "globe" (an old word akin to "glib" and "glide”).


Cross" and "Potter's Cross" in the "foreigns" or parochial outskirts of Wycombe, and "Gerrard's Cross" between Beaconsfield and Uxbridge. There is another "Potter's Crouch" near St. Alban's. These names are old; "Hande Cruche" occurs in a record of the thirteenth century. Crosses" sometimes become hamlets. Handy Cross is a rudimentary one. Butler's Cross and Whitecliff Cross are each considerable villages. The former retains its full title, now painted in capitals over the post-office; in the case of the latter the word "Cross" has been dropped, probably owing to its exclusive association with the monument on the hill-side. Some member of the Boteler family, who were lords of Aylesbury in the middle ages, probably improved the local means of communication by making a new cross road, intermediate between the old "Crosses" of Wendover and Monks' Risborough. He may, however, merely have set up a new "hand-cross"; such structures were once more substantially constructed than now. The post supporting the cross-boards, each ending in a pointing hand, was itself mounted on a base, consisting of two or more stepped stages. At or near to such crosses the local potters probably exhibited their wares for sale to passing travellers, who often carried their kitchen apparatus with them; hence the name "Potter's Cross."* "Gerrard's Cross" was doubtless made by some member of the Gerrard family, who were lords of Dorney for nearly a century (1537-1629). What, it will be said, has all this to do with


which is so conspicuous an object from the Vale and the opposite hills? The answer is that the chalk Cross is neither more nor less than a representation of such a "hand-cross" as is above described, mounted on a base. The base is a noticeable feature. Originally it seems to have been stepped; but the angles of the turf forming the steps have been worn away, giving the base its present


The Wycombe "Potter's Cross" is close to the hamlet of Tyler's Green." Pottery made here was commonly hawked in the streets of Wycombe within the memory of living persons. was carried in panniers slung across the backs of asses.


triangular shape.* The base, however, may possibly represent a simple mound of earth, such as those on which hand-crosses are occasionally erected. The intention evidently was to convey to the eyes of all within seeing distance that this hill, and no other, was the hill above the Whitecliff Cross on the Icknield Way. From a considerable distance the rounded tops of the Chilterns, which here vary little in actual elevation, are not easily distinguished. By the aid of the chalk Cross a traveller from the region of Cuddesdon and Shotover, a dozen miles distant, could ride straight for the Whitecliff Cross Road, and thus make his way to Amersham and Hertfordshire.


Speculative antiquaries, as might be anticipated, have connected the Cross with the local progress of Christianity. The present writer perused Mr. Williams's instructive paper on the "Origin and First Growth of Christianity in Bucks" (p. 344 of this volume), with some trepidation, anticipating the usual allusion to the Whitecliff Cross as "a monument of the conversion of the pagan Saxons to Christianity," or of an imaginary "victory of the Christian Saxons over the pagan Danes." Despite the strong temptation which this Christian symbol, cut on the spur of a lofty hill overlooking the Vale of Aylesbury, must have presented to Mr. Williams in the course of his argument, he is too good an historian to countenance any such nonsense. There is not a particle of evidence confirming these wild conjectures in the slightest degree. What, then, is the meaning of the figure-cross? To answer this question the actual age of this part of the monument must be investigated; and when this is done, we cannot help concluding that it belongs not to Saxon and Danish times, but is


There is no mention of it, so far as I know, in any old

* There can, I think, be little doubt about this. At present the cross is not of the proportions which might have been expected. The base has been gradually enlarged, and the shaft consequently shortened. Four steps, of the same width as the arms of the Cross, seem to complete the original design.

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