52 Pages | b&w illustrations
Apparently Wiltshire has been known as the ‘Cradle of England’, which suits it so well as it affects everybody’s lives in some way or other. Sir Christopher Wren was born here – just to think of his vast influence and inspired architecture landmarks he left behind. To me personally the tragedy is modern architecture. However, life must go on as they say and progress has always been a debatable word. Now it has become a necessity to house the multitudes in ‘high rise boxes’ to fit them all in so I suppose I should not be critical.
I have little doubt that the average ‘man in the street’ has no knowledge or appreciation of this amazing county’s history and ‘containments’; it is both weird and wonderful – wonderful in some ways by having no coastline which means roughly ‘without crowds’, surely a delight in this hectic and noisy age. Weird inasmuch as one is faced on all sides by barrows, earth works and white horses (of the latter the county contains eight visible to the naked eye). The oldest is at Bratton, 180 feet long and 107 feet high, and with an eye 25 feet round. It was apparently remodelled in 1878 when it was changed from a heavy horse to a lighter variety by Lord Abingdon. The barrows come ‘long’, ‘round’ and ‘bell’ and the ‘long’ predate even Avebury whilst the ‘round’ and ‘bell’ belong to the Stonehenge era. The battle-loving Celts seem to have been responsible for the encircling earthworks which are still so visible, before the peaceful Roman era from which we have inherited some of their wonderful roads.
Of Avebury, by the way, I can sadly say little as the sarsen stones or ‘Grey Wethers’ as they are called were shrouded in grey mist and the historic surroundings were no more than a blur the day I passed through but it actually added to the mystery and history of the distant past and stirs even further our interest in their rituals, purposes and lines of thought. The Avebury stones, apparently, are older than Stonehenge . Pottery in this area is believed to go back as far beyond the Crucifixion as we are on this side of it; Avebury is old, old, OLD in the fullest sense of the word