Julian’s Bower - History and Facts | History Hit

Julian’s Bower

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About Julian’s Bower

Julian’s Bower is a Medieval turf maze that sits high up on a rural hilltop in in North Lincolnshire, England.

History of Julian’s Bower

An air of mystery still surrounds this maze, the first record of which appears to be in the late 17th century, in the diary of antiquarian and historian Abraham de la Pryme, although the maze is believed to date back to Medieval times. Turf mazes were popular in Britain and throughout the centuries, but Julian’s Bower is one of the few surviving examples in the UK.

Technically, Julian’s Bower is actually a labyrinth (as are most other turf mazes), as it contains only a single entrance and path (unicursal), which eventually leads to the centre, unlike multicursal mazes, which feature different multiple paths. There are various different theories about the origin of Julian’s Bower. One theory states that it was carved as an act of penance by one of the knights involved with the murder of Thomas Becket, while another simply attributes the creation of the maze to Benedictine monks who lived in the area until the early 13th century.

The name ‘Julian’s Bower’ is not exclusive to the Lincolnshire maze and was used as the title for other similar turf-cut mazes, as was the name Troy Town, believed to reference the idea that the ancient Greek city’s walls were complex in structure as a way of warding off and confusing attackers. Julian’s Bower may refer to Julius, the son of Aeneas of Troy.

Julian’s Bower today

Julian’s Bower is an important historical landmark for the village of Alkborough, where the maze is located, and as it is set on public land, the maze can be freely visited by anyone to enjoy. A big draw for many people is the outstanding view offered from the maze, which sits atop a hill overlooking the point where the River Trent and River Ouse meet. The Pennines and Peak District can even be seen on a clear day.

Getting to Julian’s Bower

The maze’s location in a rural spot means that it can be difficult to get to using just public transport, as there are no nearby rail stations, although the number 60 bus from Scunthorpe (around 7.5 miles away) stops at Cross Street, which is a few minutes from the maze on foot. If driving, Julian’s Bower can be reached by navigating to either Walcot Road or West Halton Lane.

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