The Englishman who Went up a Hill but Came down a Mountain

1995 film by Christopher Monger

The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain is a 1995 film about a Welsh village that is offended when English cartographers tell them that their mountain is only a hill. The villagers set out to change that, by raising their hill above the required 1,000 feet to qualify for the mountain label.

Written and directed by Christopher Monger, based on a story by Ivor Monger.
A romantic comedy about a town that wouldn't give up. A man who couldn't get out. And the mountain that brought them together.


  • All this fuss over what? Is it a hill, is it a mountain? Perhaps it wouldn't matter anywhere else, but this is Wales. The Egyptians built pyramids, the Greeks built temples, but we did none of that, because we had mountains. Yes, the Welsh were created by mountains: where the mountain starts, there starts Wales. If this isn't a mountain—well, if this isn't a mountain, then Anson might just as well redraw the border and put us all in England, God forbid.


  • Well I don't know the English word, but in Welsh we call it a be'chi'ngalw.

Johnny Shellshocked

  • Stop actin' so English!
  • In France, we dug trenches ten miles long. We took earth from here and made hills there. We moved entire fields. You wouldn't believe what we did. It's possible. It's just hard work.


Narrator: For some odd reason, lost in the mists of time, there's an extraordinary shortage of last names in Wales. Almost everyone seems to be a Williams, a Jones, or an Evans. To avoid widespread confusion, Welsh people often add an occupation to a name. For example, there was Williams the Petroleum, and Williams the Death. There was Jones the Bottle, and Jones the Prize Cabbage... which described his hobby and his personality. Evans the Bacon, and Evans the End of the World. But one man's name was a puzzle, and it wasn't until I was 10 years old that I asked my grandfather about the man with the longest and most enigmatic name of all.
Grandfather: [to the narrator at age 10] The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain? Now there's a long name for you. And a long story. You are not going to fidget, are you? For this is a story... an epic story. Yes, epic.

[Anson and Garrad have explained they must go and calculate the height.]
Thomas Twp Too: And how d'you know later?
Anson: Well, w-we've made, um, we've made measurements with those two hills, and w-we already know the height of Newton Beacon and Whitchurch Hill...
Thomas Twp: But how were they measured?
Anson: The same way, by comparing them with other hills.
Thomas Twp Too: But who measured the first hill?
Rev. Robert Jones: [whispering] God. God, my boy. God.

[Morgan is selling drinks as the rest of the village works to raise the mountain]
Rev. Robert Jones: Have you no shame?
Morgan the Goat: [patting his sides as if searching] No... I can't think where I've left it!

Morgan the Goat: I don't want Ffynnon Garw to be on the map because we begged for it, because we, we-we pleaded. No. If Ffynnon Garw has to be a thousand feet, then I say let it be a thousand feet! Put 20 feet, that's all we need, a 20-foot tump and we have our mountain!
Jones the JP: I'm not sure how legal that is...
Rev. Robert Jones: Yes, or ethical...
Morgan the Goat: Legal? Ethical? Wh-- how legal was it to say that a thousand feet is a mountain and 984 isn't, uh? Uh? Do we call a short man a boy, or a small dog a cat? No! This is a mountain, our mountain, and if it needs to be a thousand feet, then by God let's make it a thousand feet!

[The resurvey could not be completed by nightfall]
Anson: Well, i-i-it will be measured again! I mean, uh, perhaps we'll even come back through here on our return, and...
Betty: You won't be back. This isn't a place that people like you come back to.
Anson: Well, I'll try, I'll, I'll really try...
Betty: I'll try! Is that the best you can do?

Anson: Um, I'm not sure that I can rely on Mr. Garrad. But, um, the thing is, I-I will need an assistant. I, uh-- you wouldn't, um?
Betty: Me?
Anson: Well, why not?
Betty: Well... I've never been to Abyssinia!
Anson: Heh.
Betty: Or Aden, or Sevastopol. And I can't speak with a posh accent for long.
Anson: Well, I-I-I-I think we can get over that.
Betty: I'm just a maidservant!
Anson: Well, I-I don't think the word just could apply to you about anything.
Betty: Was that a compliment?
Anson: Yes. Yes. Now, n-now I'm going to blush, so, um, would you help me... please?
Betty: Since you said please. And you're blushing!
Anson: Ohh.
Betty: Yes, I will.
Anson: Good. Then, um, prepare the engineer's transit.
Betty: What?
Anson: I'll show you.

Betty: There's nothing very special about me. I'm the kind of girl you usually don't notice: I scuttle in with a tray of tea, bow my head, and scuttle out.
Anson: I'd notice.
Betty: No, you wouldn't. Not usually.