Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Alameda, Ampthill

This molehill, which stands on The Alameda at Ampthill, was made at some point earlier today. It’s now been flattened, as has every other molehill along the length of this impressive avenue of trees, bequeathed to the town by Lord Holland in the 19th century. Over the last week or so, I’ve dutifully flattened any molehills in the morning and afternoon in order to get an idea of the activity that’s been going on. This very basic experiment has revealed the presence of half a dozen or so individual moles! If you’ve got molehills close to you, then it’s worth doing the same – like me, you might be surprised by the amount of excavation that’s taking place!

The UK’s most famous molehill was made during the early 1700s, in 1702 to be precise. It was in that fateful year, on 20th February, that King William III’s horse, Sorrel, stumbled over a molehill in Richmond Park, the frail 51 year old King William breaking his collar bone and dying of a subsequent fever a few weeks later, which explains why...

a) ….King William’s statue in St James Square includes a molehill!

b) …King William’s enemies, the Jacobites, used to raise a toast to ‘The Gentleman in Black Velvet’!

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