The Maze

Wing_Maze This turf-cut maze is situated on the edge of the village beside Glaston Road, cut in the turf by the roadside, it is a circular “turf maze” (actually a unicursal labyrinth, roughly 40 ft (12 m) in diameter).
The maze at Wing is one of eight remaining turf labyrinths in England.

As to how old it is… Britain’s Historic Sites says it “may be well over 2500 years old”, the Stone Circles site says it is Medieval, while the interpretation board beside the maze makes much of the Viking derivation of the village’s name. But some say it dates back to medieval times, based on the fact that its design is similar to the pavement maze in Chartres cathedral and other medieval examples.Anyway, we know Shakespeare was familiar with turf labyrinths, even if he knew them in decline:

“The nine men’s morris is fill’d up with mud
and the quaint mazes in the wanton green
for lack of tread are undistinguishable.”

Certainly, the Genuki page for Wing says:

By the 19th century the maze seems to have lost some of its magic, for the Leicester and Rutland Directory of 1846 talks of: “An ancient Maze, in which the rustics run at the parish feast”.

Mediaeval Monks may have crawled along the lines, stopping at points to pray and repent.

Anyway, we know Shakespeare was familiar with turf labyrinths, even if he knew them in decline:

“The nine men’s morris is fill’d up with mud
and the quaint mazes in the wanton green
for lack of tread are undistinguishable.”

Certainly, the Genuki page for Wing says:

By the 19th century the maze seems to have lost some of its magic, for the Leicester and Rutland Directory of 1846 talks of: “An ancient Maze, in which the rustics run at the parish feast”.

wingmaze (1)More accurately known as a labyrinth, it measures around 14 metres in diameter and consists of a single grass path that winds and backtracks around in a circle before finally leading to the centre. This form of maze has been variously termed ‘Classical’, ‘Cretan’ or ‘Chartres’ and is popularly associated with the legend of Thesesus and the Minotaur. The age of this particular maze, as with the few others that remain in Britain, is not known but it is probable that it only dates from the medieval period – it is later recorded in the Leicester and Rutland Directory of 1846 which describes it as ‘an ancient maze, in which the rustics run at the parish feast’.

Historically, turf mazes were confined to Northern Europe, especially England, Germany and Denmark. Hundreds of similar labyrinths still exist elsewhere in Scandinavia, Lappland, Iceland and the former Soviet Union, but their paths were normally marked out with stones, either on grass or on flat areas of bare rock. Some of these stone labyrinths are very ancient.

wingmaze2

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