Old Weird Albion
A really special book, one of our favourites, and a must-read for anyone interested in the mystical myths and ancient Pagan history of this area.
The Old Weird Albion is part memoir, part psycho-geographical journey, and loosely follows the author Justin Hopper as he follows the South Downs Way, tracing memories, myths and forgotten histories from Winchester to Beachy Head.
Justin Hopper is an American writer, but his grandmother Winnie Hopper was a Steyning resident, and for Justin, who used to visit his grandmother in Steyning as a child, Steyning and Chanctonbury Ring evoke haunting memories and hold a mystical power. So Justin set out to investigate the myths, legends and stories associated with landmarks such as Chanctonbury Ring, mysterious pagan carvings in local churches, the standing stones near Uckfield, and the tragic draw of Beachy Head. On his route, Justin joins New Age eccentrics and accidental visionaries on the hunt for crop circles, ancient chalk figures and eerie suburbs: the ruins of prehistoric pasts and utopian futures.
We were lucky enough to host two magical events with Justin, where he read extracts from the book accompanied live by haunting music created by psych-folk musician Sharron Kraus. This live performance entitled 'Chanctonbury Rings' has now been captured on CD and vinyl, available from Ghost box records.