Ancient Monuments

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Chalk map of Australia 925m south west of Upper Hurdcott Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Compton Chamberlayne, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.0618 / 51°3'42"N

Longitude: -1.94 / 1°56'24"W

OS Eastings: 404296.905134

OS Northings: 129166.710632

OS Grid: SU042291

Mapcode National: GBR 3ZX.8BS

Mapcode Global: FRA 66T9.XP2

Entry Name: Chalk map of Australia 925m south west of Upper Hurdcott Farm

Scheduled Date: 1 June 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020133

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33963

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Compton Chamberlayne

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Compton Chamberlayne St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a chalk map of Australia cut into the northern slope of
Compton Down, overlooking the village of Compton Chamberlayne.
The map, which was constructed by excavating a series of shallow bedding
trenches into which clean chalk rubble was inserted and compressed into place,
consists of a simple outline of the Australian continent, within which is the
legend `Australia'. It was originally cut by troops belonging to the
Australian Imperial Force, Australia's expeditionary force. The Australians
underwent training in the locality during August 1916 and March 1917 but took
over many of the camps around Fovant from October 1917 until after the
Armistice, when the camps were used as dispersal centres for those awaiting
A further series of contemporary chalk badges on Fovant and Sutton Downs are
the subject of separate schedulings.
All fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them
is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Constructed by either stripping the turf to expose the bedrock beneath, or by
cutting bedding trenches and packing them with chalk rubble, hill figures are
an extremely rare phenomenon nationally with only 40 or so identified, most
of which are to be found on the chalk downs of southern England.
Archaeological opinion is divided as to the date of the earliest examples,
some of which may have their origins in the late prehistoric or Romano-British
period. However, most appear to belong to the post-medieval period, of which
those from the 20th century are by far the most numerous with 26 examples
recorded nationally. With the exception of one figure cut as an advertisement,
the remainder of 20th century hill figures appear to have been cut for
commemorative purposes, with a significant proportion dating to World War I
and intended to record the presence of military units in specific localities.
The 19 badges and motifs either visible today as surface features or surviving
as buried deposits on Fovant, Compton and Sutton Downs represent by far the
largest and most complete group of hill figures in England. They are prominent
features in the landscape and along with the military graves in nearby
churchyards are a visible record of the importance of the area during World
War I. Their significance is further enhanced by their association with a
number of regiments or units which were either subsequently disbanded, or
whose members left Fovant to fight in some of the most bloody battles of
World War I.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Fovant Badges Society, (1916)

Source: Historic England

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