To Orwell Today,
re: 9. ORWELL'S WHITE HORSE
Thanks for your recent update on your visit to ORWELL'S ancestral home and the links with Dorset. I feel priviledged to have my roots here and to know ORWELL had roots here too.
PS - You mentioned the chalk figure of naked man etched into the hill. I believe this was a fertility symbol and barren women were encouraged to lay on the chalk figure to encourage fertility.
The white horse with rider depicts George 111 visit to Weymouth. It unfortunately shows him riding the wrong way (out of the town, rather than into the town). The king was offended by this and consequently never returned to Weymouth again.
Glad you enjoyed the Dorset connections to Orwell.
About the chalk figures, yes it is fairly obvious that the Giant is a fertility symbol.
The Cerne Abbas Giant, Dorset
What's in doubt is who put it there and when. I wouldn't want to be living in the primitive society where it was deemed acceptable that something as hideous as that was plastered on the hillside. It would probably have been during the times when people were hauled off and sacrificed on altars or told to go fight some religious war - a time when the world needed a Dragon Slayer and along came George.
ST GEORGE ORWELL DAY (20th century dragon slayer)
Good point you make about the White Horse being rumoured to be of King George III which could cause one to wonder if Orwell had King George III in mind, in part, when he chose the first part of his pseudonym, seeing as how he's on a mountain in his ancestral county.
Weymouth's main hero is King George III, of whom there is a statue down on the parade, because he put Weymouth on the map. He was the first eminent person to choose Weymouth as his holiday resort. His summer palace is down on the seafront, made into apartments now of course. At one point Weymouth did fall out of his favour and he stopped coming. If what you say is true, then now we know why, ie he didn't want to be seen riding out of town.
I've also read that the White Horse was etched up by the English army who had nothing to do while they waited to be attacked by the French and its purpose was to scare them away once their ships approached. The army would be wasting a fair amount of time on such a tactic. One person has recently tried to walk totally around the perimeter, starting at the lower foreleg, and gave up hours later, having only reached the nose or something.
I guess my point is, these chalk figures are even bigger than they look and maybe not as easy to carve out as one might assume.
All the best,
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~
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