Avebury within the stone circle
|Website:||Avebury Parish Council|
The Church of England parish church has an 11th-century Anglo-Saxon nave in which two original Saxon windows survive. In the 13th century the church's dedication was recorded as All Saints but it now bears a dedication to St James.
- Main article: Avebury Stone Circle
The Avebury monument is vast, and consists of several smaller sites of varying dates. The earliest of these, the earthworks, dates to between 3400 and 2625 BC. Later additions include a henge and several stone circles. Starting in around the 14th century locals began dismantling the stone circles for one reason or another, to clear land, to provide material for other building projects, or simply to efface a pagan monument. In 1648 John Aubrey visited the site and found most of the stones still standing or lying nearby:
These Downes looke as if they were Sown with great Stones, very thicke; and in a dusky evening they looke like a flock of Sheep: from whence it takes its name. One might fancy it to have been the Scene where the Giants fought with stones against the Gods... I was wonderfully surprised at the sight of those vast stones, of which I had never heard before; as also at the mighty Banke and Graffe [ditch] about it. I observed in the Inclosures some segments of rude circles, made with these stones, whence I concluded, they had been in old time complete.
In the 18th century William Stukeley visited the site and chronicled the further damage that had been done. In the 1930s the archeologist Alexander Keiller re-erected many of the fallen stones, partially restoring the circle to its original condition. In 1943 the British government took possession of the monument and the village; they are currently administered by the National Trust. In 1986 UNESCO added Avebury, along with Stonehenge, Silbury Hill, and associated local sites, to its World Heritage List.
Besides the Avebury Stone Circle itself, there are numerous other prehistoric sites nearby, including West Kennet Long Barrow and the West Kennet Avenue, both of which are near to the included village of West Kennett.
About the village
The village pub, The Red Lion, claims to be the only pub in the world to be enclosed by a stone circle. The pub has been built around the 86 foot deep village well which has been covered over with glass and now features as a dining table. An inscription around the well claims that at least one villager died after falling down it.
Avebury Priory, Manor and Garden
- Main article: Avebury Manor
Avebury Manor and Garden is a National Trust property located in the village, consisting of the manor house and its garden.
The house was built in about 1557 on the site of aBenedictine alien priory. The priory had been founded in 1114 as a cell of the monastery of Saint Georges de Boscherville near Rouen in Normandy. During the Hundred Years' War against France, Henry V had all alien priories dissolved. Avebury priory was dissolved in 1411 and its property granted to Fotheringhay College. The college then held the manor of Avebury until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century.
In popular culture
The number of wild ideas and neo-pagan writings that have revolved around Avebury are too many and too bizarre to describe.
- Children of the Stones, a 1977 television series, depicts Avebury as a town controlled by the stones.
- "Sight Unseen" a novel by Robert Goddard (2005) has Avebury as a main setting
| ("Wikimedia Commons" has material|
- Crowley, D.A. (ed.); Baggs, A.P.; Freeman, Jane; Stevenson, Janet H. (1983). A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 12: Ramsbury and Selkey hundreds; the Borough of Marlborough. Victoria County History. pp. 86–105.
- Pevsner, Nikolaus; Cherry, Bridget (revision) (1975). Wiltshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 96–103. ISBN 0-14-0710-26-4.
- Pugh, R.B., ed (1956). A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 3. Victoria County History. pp. 392–393.