On the 26 July 2004 we received an email from a member of the public who is a resident in the White Horse Stone area. She informed us of a planning application by the telecommunications company ORANGE to erect a 15 metre mast/tower within yards of the White Horse Stone.

Local legend says that following the Battle of Aylesford, the body of Horsa was laid upon the stone or alternatively buried beneath the stone. There is no evidence for either, as is often the case with folklore but the stone has, for many, become the symbolic “Birthplace of England” and inextricably linked with those who bought our faith to the land that would become England.

Of course, as soon as we received this information we requested further details and were able to confirm that this was in fact true. This page will detail all information available and keep you informed of progress.

  • 26 July 2004:

    OR received email as follows.

      • I understand that the White Horse Stone in Kent UK is important to your religion and I am writing to tell you of a threat to it and the immediate environment.
      • Orange wants to install a 15 metre mast within feet of the Stone and adjacent to the Pilgrim’s Way. They say it is temporary but once installed I don’t think it will ever be removed.
      • The mast if given planning permission will be in the hedgerow next to the Cursing field where the Stone stands too. It is an area of natural Beauty and the White Horse Stone is an Ancient Monument.
      • If you can please write to:
      • Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council
      • Attn: Steve Humphrey and Jill Hamilton
      • Director of Planning and Engineering Services
      • Gibson Building
      • Gibson Drive
      • Kings Hill
      • West Malling, Kent
      • ME19 4LZ
      • Please quote the Application No: TM/04/02250/FL
      • If a lot of letters are received it will go to a committee to be considered instead of being nodded through by an officer from planning. I have telephoned to Tonbridge and Malling Council and am told that comments and objections must be received by 2nd August. (That is this coming Monday). The person dealing with this is Jill Thompson her phone number is 01732 876234. her email is jill.hamilton@tmbc.gov.uk
      I also spoke to the Mayor of Tonbridge and Malling yesterday who has promised to support us.
  • 26 July 2004

    OR seeks further information and receives a copy of the planning application

  • 27 July 2004

    Internet Information Officer sent emails to a large number of organisations and individuals asking for their assistance and warning that time is very short and objections need to be received by 2nd August. Many offers of help received from all quarters and the information appears on many pagan and environmental websites. Secretary CG made calls to various local organisations to make them aware of situation.

  • 28 July 2004

There has been an excellent response to the emails we sent out. People from all over the world have contacted Tonbridge and Malling council or have promised to do so.

  • 11 August 2004

All those who wrote to protest were today sent a letter by T&M Council inviting anyone who wishes to speak to the planning committee to contact them and make this known. Hengest has replied asking to speak on behalf of the OR.

  • 13 August 2004

We have received a copy of the report prepared by the planning department for the planning committee. The application is also being opposed by English Heritage so that should add some weight to the argument against. The recommendation of the department is to reject the application but it still has to go before the committee.

  • 19 August 2004

The Big Day! Today Hengest paid a visit to the White Horse Stone where he carried out a protection ritual and call on the High Ones to be with him. After spending quite some time taking in the wonderful ambience he made his way to the Tonbridge and Malling Council offices. Before going in he introduced himself to 3 members of Wodens Folk who had come to protest.Each person who had registered their intention to speak was allocated three minutes to say their piece. Hengest was the first person to speak and he said the following:

I am here today as a representative of the Odinic Rite, an international organisation for those who practice the pre-Christian faith of Northern Europe, known to us today as Odinism. We fully support the position of English Heritage with regard to archaeological concerns and would like to add our own objections as follows:

  • This area of national importance and outstanding natural beauty has suffered greatly due to the construction of the CTRL and the use of the Pilgrims way by motorcyclists and off road vehicles. Any further construction work and encroachment in this area would further diminish the special nature of the site in the eyes of those who currently show no regard for it.
  • The visual impact of the proposed mast will, we feel, be unacceptable viewed from the road and approaching the Pilgrims Way from Chatham Road. The effect of this on the ambience of the area cannot be understated, as it would change the character of the whole site. The effect of the CTRL is mitigated by the fact that it is set in a cutting. This would not be true in the case of a 15-metre tower which would stand out from, and above, the trees lining Pilgrims Way.
  • The application is for a temporary structure but we have concerns over the long term impact on the site and also what would happen should the negotiations between Orange and Union Railways South not conclude in Orange’s favour
  • The White Horse Stone is considered by us and others to be a place of great spiritual and historic importance. Members of my own organisation have gathered at the stone for some 30 years to honour their Gods and ancestors. We even built the steps leading to the stone. We have played host to many foreign visitors who are astounded that the CTRL was allowed to pass so close and would be equally dismayed to see a telephone mast even closer. We are also aware that other unrelated religious groups use the stone.
  • Local folklore links the stone to Hengest and Horsa, leaders of the Anglo-Saxon invasion, which led to the formation of the English nation. We feel that any such link, whether folklore or fact should be seen as of the utmost importance for the county of Kent, which also owes its White Horse emblem to Hengest and Horsa. We therefore urge that the application be rejected and that this truly important monument and its surroundings be preserved for the people of Kent and the Nation.

Next to speak was Lee from Woden’s Folk who gave a far more militant talk, threatening civil disobedience and legal action. Third was a well spoken elderly gentleman who pointed out that under the law for Areas of Outstnding Natural Beauty, the benefits of any work must outweigh the damage caused. The fact that this mast would provide 15 extra seconds of air time to people on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link was not acceptable.

After all had spoken the Councillors got to make their points and this is where something unexpected happened. The first councillor said that he was fascinated by the objections read by Lee and Hengest. The second said he just wanted to agree with everything “the Odinists” had said and a third suggested that in future, groups such as ours should be consulted on all works affecting ancient monuments. All were in agreement that the application showed a complete disregard for the status of the area. There was also condemnation for the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Unit which was set up to protect the area and yet failed to even respond to the consultation and sent nobody to the planning meeting.

Having heard from all parties the committee then voted on the application which was unanimously rejected. A great result and whilst it is debatable whether the application would have been rejected without our intervention, one thing that is indisputable is that our involvement has made sure that the White Horse Stone is now recognised as a holy site of great importance.

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