Hilton Maze and Monument


At the southern end of the Green is the Maze, one of only eight such turf mazes still surviving in England. It was made in 1660 by William Sparrow, a Royalist in Cromwell County, to commemorate the Restoration of Charles II to the Throne. The pattern cut in the turf is unicursal - a single winding track with no forks or blind alleys, coiled into a seemingly endless labyrinth. Probably of pagan origin, similar patterns are found in medieval art, notably the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France, and may represent a path to escape the Devil who can only move in straight lines!

The Maze is 53 feet in diameter and at the centre is a Monument to its creator, probably erected on his death in 1729, inscribed in Latin: "William Sparrow, Gentleman, born in the year 1641, aged 88 when he died, fashioned these rings in the year 1660". Sparrow lived in a fine old house which stood on the site of the present Park Farm and looked across to the Maze. He was a staunch Royalist and the building was decorated with royal emblems of roses and fleurs-de-lys. A panel painting of the Royal Arms was found in the derelict house in 1945 and moved to Hilton Church where it can now be seen over the chancel arch.

Scheduled as an ancient monument, the Maze is now the responsibility of the Parish Council and was refurbished in 1998 with a grant from English Heritage.