Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine 1857 V4 Pages 307-363

Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine 1857 V4 Pages 307-363 is in Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine 1857 V4.

Abury [Map] By William Long, Esq., M.A.

There is no district in the British Isles of greater interest to to the antiquary than the tract of country between Devizes and Marlborough. Within it may be seen the Wansdyke, that last and largest of the boundaries between the Belgic and aboriginal tribes, stretching for miles along the summit of the hills; earthworks of various forms on the adjoining slopes; barrows large and small, long and round; the remains of a British settlement on Huish Hill; the camps of Oldbury [Map], Rybury [Map], Knap-hill [Map], and Martin's-hill [Map]; a British trackway, which at a subsequent period formed a part of the Icknield way;1 the Roman road from Bath, which, after making use of the fosse of the Wansdyke, traverses the open downs in its course towards Cunetio2 and Londinium; the gigantic hill of Silbury [Map]; and lastly, one of the oldest3, most extensive, and most interesting relics of antiquity we possess,—the remains of the temple of Abury [Map].

Note 1. Dr. Guest on the Four Roman Ways, p. 13 and 22 (Archeol Journal No. 54).

Note 2. "Cunetio" is evidently the Latin form of the word "Kennet," or "Cunnet? as Stukeley says it was called by the country people in his time.

Note 3. The temple at Stanton Drew is supposed by many to be of older date than that at Abury. The temple which appears to correspond more nearly than any other in character and features, (being far inferior in size,) with the gigantic monument in Wiltshire, is that of Arbor Lowe in Derbyshire. It is circular, or rather elliptical: has a ditch six yards wide, within a high vallum: the area, within the ditch, fifty yards in diameter: a large circle of about 30 huge unhewn stones: an inner circle of smaller ones (doubtful), and near the centre three larger ones. The circumference of the vallum about 270 yards. There are two entrances, N. and S.: and about a quarter of a mile off towards the west is a large conical tumulus called "Gib Hill [Map]" connected with the vallum of the temple by a rampire of earth running in a serpentine direction. See "Bateman's Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire, 1848, p. 109." For a suggestion as to the origin of the names Arbor and Abury, see a Note further on.

The pretty village of Abury or Avebury, within the parochial boundaries of which these ruins are comprised, is about a mile from Beckhampton, and as it lies out of the main road from London to Devizes and Bath, it is perhaps not surprising that it did not earlier attract attention. The only mention Leland makes of it is in the following scanty allusion; "Kenet risithe north north-west at Selbiri hille [Map] botom, wherby hath ben camps and sepultures of men of warre, as at Aibyri a mile of, and in dyvers places of the playne." Camden seems not to have been aware of its existence; and Dr. Philemon Holland, his first translator, writes thus of it, "Within one mile of Silbury [Map] is Abury, an uplandish village, built in an old camp, as it seemeth, but of no large compass. It is environed with a fair trench, and hath four gates, in two of which stand huge stones as jambs, but so rude that they seem rather natural than artificial; of which there are some others in the said village."

Note. In the 3rd song of his "Polyolbion" (published in 1612) in which the Wiltshire rivers are celebrated, Drayton mentions "Ouldbry," Saint Ann, Barbury, and Badbury Hills, and Mount Marting-sall; and feigns an altercation, in language rather of a Billingsgate stamp, between "Stonendge" and Wansdyke; but he makes no allusion either to Abury or Silbury Hill. Selden, his annotator, is equally silent respecting them.

In the notes to the Third Book of Orlando Furioso "in English historical verse by Sir John Harington, of Bath, Knight," London, 1634, is the following passage;— "But concerning his (Merlin's) life, that there was such a man, a great counseller to King Arthur, I hold it certaine; that he had a castle in Wiltshire called after him Merlinsbury (now Marlborow) it is very likely, the old ruines whereof are yet seene in our highway from Bath to London. Also the great stones of unmeasurable bignesse and number that lie scattered about the place have given occasion to some to report, and others to beleeve wondrous stratagems wrought by his great skill in magick, as likewise the great stones at Stonage on Salisbury plaine, which the ignorant people beleeve he brought out of Ireland: and indeed the wiser sort can rather marvyell at than tell why or how they were set there." It is by no means clear from this that Sir John had seen Abury.

The first person who examined it with attention was John Aubrey, whose memory will long be preserved by his graphic description of persons and things connected with his native county, Wiltshire. As he was only in his 23rd year when he made his discovery of Abury, and as the work in which he has preserved his early reminiscences of it (the "Monumenta Britannica" now in the Bodleian Library), though often partially quoted by various writers, has never yet been fully published; it may not be amiss to take the present opportunity of presenting to the reader the entire passages relating to this place1:—

"I was inclin'd by my Genius from my childhood to the love of antiquities: and my Fate dropt me in a countrey most suitable for such enquiries.

"Salisbury-plaines, and Stonehenge I had known from eight years old: but, I never saw the Countrey about Marleboruogh, till Christmas 1648: being then invited to the Lord Francis Seymour's, by the Honorable Mr. Charles Seymour2, with whom I had the honor to be intimately acquainted, and whose Friendship I ought to mention with a profound respect to his memorie.

"The morrow after Twelfday, Mr. Charles Seymour and Sir William Button3, mett with their packs of Hounds at the Grey-Weathers. These downes looke as if they were sowen with great Stones, very thick, 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 huge stones against the Gods. "Twas here that our game began, and the chase led us (at length) thorough the village of Aubury, into the closes there: where I was wonderfully surprized at the sight of those vast stones, of which I had never heard before: as also at the mighty Bank and graffe4" about it: I observed in the inclosure some segments of rude circles, made with these stones, whence I concluded, they had been in the old time complete. I left my company a while, entertaining myselfe with a more delightfull indagation: and then (steered by the cry of the Hounds) overtooke the company, and went with them to Kynnet, where was a good hunting dinner provided.

"Our repast was cheerfull, which being ended, we remounted, and beat over the downes with our greyhounds. In this afternoon's diversion I happened to see Wensditch (sic), and an old camp and two or three sepulchres. The evening put a period to our sport, and we returned to the Castle at Marleborough, where we were nobly entertained; juvat hec meminisse5. I thinke I am the only surviving gentleman of that company.

Note 1. It is here printed from a transcript from the original MS. taken for the purpose of the present paper, and the accompanying illustrations have been reduced from very accurate facsimiles of Aubrey's sketches, which the writer has presented to the Society's Library and Museum at Devizes.

Note 2. Then of Allingham neer Chippenham: since Ld Seymour.

Note 3. Of Tottenham, Baronet. Tockenham.

Note 4. Ditch.

Note 5. it helps to remember this.

"In the year 1655 was published by Mr. Webb, a book entitled "Stonehenge Restored," but written by Mr. Inigo Jones; which I read with great delight. There is a great deale of learning in it, but having compared his scheme with the monument itself, I found he had not dealt fairly, but had made a Lesbian's rule, which is conformed to the stone; that is, he framed the monument to his own hypothesis, which is much differing from the thing itself; and this gave me an edge to make more researches; and a further opportunity was, that my honored and faithfull friend Colonel James Long,1 of Draycot, was wont to spend a week or two every autumne at Aubury in hawking, where several times I have had the happiness to accompany him. Our sport was very good, and in a romantick countrey, for the prospects are noble and vast, the downs stockt with numerous flocks of sheep, the turfe rich and fragrant with thyme and burnet.

"Fessus ubi incubuit baculo, saxoque resedit,

Pastor arundineo carmine muleet oves.'2

Nor are the nut-brown shepherdesses without their graces. But the flight of the falcons was but a parenthesis to the Colonell's facetious discourse, who was 'tam Marti quam Mercurio,'3 and the Muses did accompany him with his hawkes and spaniels.

Note 1. Afterwards Sir James Long. There is an amusing sketch in water colours of Sir James and Aubrey on one of these hawking expeditions, in Aubrey's MS. "Hypomnemata Antiquaria, A.," in the Ashmolean Museum.

Note 2. Tired where he lay down on his staff, and sat down on the rocks, the Shepherd soothes his sheep with a song of reeds.'

Note 3. both on Tuesday and on Wednesday

"1663. King Charles II (age 32) discoursing one morning with my Lord Brownker (age 43) and Dr. Charleton1 concerning Stoneheng, they told his Majestie, what they had heard me say, concerning Aubury, se. that it did as much exceed Stoneheng as a Cathedral does a Parish Church. His Majesty admired that none of our Chorographers had taken notice of it: and commanded Dr. Charlton to bring me to him the next morning. I brought with me a draught of it donne by memorie only: but well enough resembling it, with which his Majesty was pleased: gave me his hand to kisse and commanded me to waite on him at Marleborough when he went to Bath with the Queen (which was about a fortnight after) which I did: and the next day, when the court were on their journie, his Majesty left the Queen and diverted to Aubury, where I shewed him that stupendious Antiquity, with the view whereof, He and his Royal Highness, the Duke of Yorke, were very well pleased. His Majesty commanded me to write a Description of it, and present it to him: and the Duke of Yorke commanded me to give an account of the old Camps, and Barrows on the Plaines.

"As his Majesty departed from Aubury to overtake the Queen, he cast his eie on Silsbury-hill [Map] about a mile off: which they had the curiosity to see, and walkt up to the top of it, with the Duke of Yorke, Dr. Charlton and I attending them. They went to Lacock2 to dinner: and that evening to Bath; all the Gentry and Commonaltie of those parts waiting on them, with great acclamations of joy, &c.

"There have been several books writt by learned men concerning Stoneheng, much differing from one another, some affirming one thing, some another. Now I come in the rear of all by comparative arguments to give a clear evidence that these monuments were pagan temples, which was not made out before; and have also (with humble submission to better judgments) offered a probability, that they were temples of the Druids.

"When a traveller rides along by the ruines of a Monastery, he knows by the manner of building, sc. Chapell, Cloysters, &c., that it was a Convent, but of what order (sc. Benedictine, Dominican, &e.,) it was, he cannot tell by the bare view. So it is cleer that all the monuments, which I have here recounted were Temples. Now my presumption is, That the Druids being the most eminent Priests [or Order of Priests] among the Britaines, 'tis odds, but that these ancient monuments [sc. Aubury, Stonehenge, Kerrig y Druidd &c.] were Temples of the Priests of the most eminent Order, viz., Druids, and it is strongly to be presumed, that Aubury, Stoneheng, &c., are as ancient as these times.

"This inquiry, I must confess, is a gropeing in the dark: but although I have not brought it into a cleer light, yet I can affirm that I have brought it from an utter darkness to a thin mist, and have gonne farther in this essay than any one before me.

"These antiquities are so exceedingly old that no bookes doe reach them, se. that there is no way to retrive them but by comparative antiquitie, which I have writt upon the spott from the monuments themselves,— 'Historia quoque modo scripta, bona est;'3 and though this be writt, as I rode a gallop, yet the novelty of it, and the faithfulness of the delivery, may make some amends for the uncorrectness of the style.

"The first draught was worn out with time and handling, and now, methinks, after many years lying dormant, I come abroad, like the ghost of one of those Druids.

"I beg the reader's pardon for running this preface into a storie, and wish him as much pleasure in reading them, as I met in seeing them. Vale.

John Aubrey (age 36).

Note 1. William Visc. Brouncker of Earlstoke (age 43), was the first President of the Royal Scciety. Dr. Walter Charleton was the King's Physician, and author of a treatise advocating the Danish origin of Stonehenge.

Note 2. Sir John Talbot's.

Note 3. History is also just written, it is good.

Aubury [Map] is four miles west from Marleborough in Wiltshire, and is peradventure the most eminent and entire monument of this kind in the Isle of Great Britaigne. (I take this old ill-shapened monument to be the greatest, most considerable, and the least ruinated of any of this kind in our British Isle.) It is very strange that so eminent an Antiquitie should lye so long unregarded by our Chorographers: Mr......... only names it.

"It is environed with an extraordinary great vallum [or Rampart] as great, and as high as that at Winchester, [which is the greatest Bulwark that I have seen]: within which is a Graffe [ditch] of a depth and breadth proportionable to it: wherefore it could not be designed for a Fortification, for then the Graffe would have been on the outside of the Rampart.

"From the entrance at a to that at β is sixty perches.

"From the entrance at γ to that at δ the same distance: and the breadth of the rampart is fower perches; and the breadth of the Graff the same distance. (See plate 2, section 1.)

"Round about the Graffe, (sc. on the edge or border of it) are pitched on end huge stones, as big, or rather bigger than those at Stoneheng: but rude and unhewen as they are drawn out of the earth:—whereas those at Stoneheng are roughly-hewen. Most of the stones thus pitched on end, are taken away: only here and there doe still remain some curvilineous segments: but by these one may boldly conclude, that heretofore they stood quite round about, like a Crowne;

'sed longa vetustas

Destruit, et saxo longa senecta nocet.'1

Note 1. but a long age, It destroys, and harms the long old stone.'

Within this circumvallation are also (yet) remaining segments [of a roundish figure] of1 two (as I doe conjecture) Sacella, one the fig. 1, the other fig. 2, and their ruines are not unlike Ariadne's Crowne: and are no neerer to a perfect circle than is that Constellation.2 So within Christian churches are severall chapelles respective to such or such a saint: and the like might have been in the old time.

"This monument does as much exceed in greatness the so renowned Stoneheng, as a Cathedral doeth a parish Church: so that by its grandure one might presume it to have been an Arch Temple of the Druids.

"It is situated in the countrey of the stones called the GreyWeathers: of which sort of stones, both this Antiquity, and that of3 Stoneheng were built. From the south entrance runnes a solemne Walke, sc. of stones pitch'd on end about seven foot high, which goes as far as Kynet [which is (at least4) a measured mile from Aubury] and from Kynet it turnes with a right angle eastward crossing the river, and ascends up the hill to another monument of the same kind [but less] as in plate (2, sec. 2.) The distance of the stones in the walk, and the breadth of it, is much about the distance of a noble walke of trees of that length: and very probable this walke was made for Processions.

Mdm. The great stone at Aubury's towne's end, where this Walke begins, fell down in Autumn 1684, and broke in two, or three pieces: it stood but two foot deep in the earth. From Mr. Walter Sloper, of Munckton, Attorney.

"Perhaps at this angular turning, might be the Celle [or Convent] of the Priests belonging to these Temples: to be sure, they did not dwell far from them: and their habitations might hapily be the occasion of the rise of this village, Kynet.

Note 1. His Majestie commanded me to digge at the bottom of the stones within the fig. 1, to try if I could find any human bones: but I did not doe it.

Note 2. Aurea per stellas nunc micat illa novem. Ovid's Fastorum, lib. iii. 516.

Note 3. 14 or 15 miles from the Grey Weathers.

Note 4. A shower of rain hindered me from measuring it.

"Within the circumference or Borough of this Monument, is now the village of Aubury, which stands 1, as is to be seen by Scheme (pl. 2, sec. 1.) The houses are built of the Frustrums of those huge stones (for hereabout are no other stones to be found except flints) which they invade with great sledges. I have verbum Sacerdotis2 for it, that these mighty stones (as hard as marble) may be broken in what part of them you please, without any great trouble: sc. make a fire on that line of the stone, where you would have it crack; and after the stone is well heated, draw over a line with cold water, and immediately give a knock with a smith's sledge, and it will break like the collets at the Glass-house.3

Note 1. through the cross.

Note 2. Parson Brunsdon of Mounekton.

Note 3. Compare with this extract from the "Monumenta Britannica" Aubrey's account of these stones in his "Natural History of Wilts," p. 44, 1847.

"The Church is likewise built of them: and the Mannour-house which was built by the Dunches, temp. Reg. Elizabethæ: and also another faire House not far from that.

"By reason of the crosse streates, houses, gardens, orchards, and several small closes, and the fractures made in this Antiquity for the building of those houses, it was no very easy taske for me to trace out the Vestigia and so to make this Survey. Wherefore I have dis-empestred the Scheme from the enclosures, and houses, &c.: which altogether foreigne to this Antiquity, and would but have clowded and darkned the reall Designe. The crosse street within this monument, was made in process of time for the convenience of the roades.

"One of the Monuments, in the street that runnes East and West, [like that above Holy-head] is converted into a pigstye, or cow-house;—as is to be seen in the roade.

[Around 1685.] "On the brow of the hill above Kynet, on the right hand of the high way which goes from Bristow to Marleborough, is such a monument [The Sanctuary [Map]] as in pl. (2, sec. 2. and pl. 3, f.1.) called.... The stones are fower and five feet high,.... in number; most of them (now) are fallen downe. I doe well remember there is a circular trench about this monument or temple.1 Here remaines a kind of solemne walk from Kynet to the top of the hill where this monument is. It is at least a quarter of a mile in length,.... foot broad, and the stones distant one from another about.... foot. West Kynet stands in the angle where the walke from Aubury hither, and that from the top of the hill did joine. It lies by the side of a little rivulet called Kynet, which runnes to Marleborough, from whence Cynetium hath its denomination: and 'tis likely that here might in the old time have been the celle or Convent for the priests belonging to these temples.

Note 1. "Mr, Aubury erred in saying there was a circular ditch on Overton Hill." Stukeley's Abury, p. 32.

I am enformed [Mr Edward Philips] that as one rides from Marleborough to Compton Basset [a village not far from hence Westward] are to be seen Houses, part whereof are stones pitched on end, as big as those of Stonehenge.

"As to the Etymologie of the word Aubury: it is vulgarly called Abury: and is writt of late times by ignorant scribes Awebury: (the e quiescent being interposed after the old fashion). But in the legier-book of Malmesbury Abbey [This mannour did belong to the Abbey.1] it is writt Aubury; and so it is in the Records of the Tower. But here (methinkes) I see some Reader smile to himselfe, thinkinge how I have strained this Place to be of my owne Name: not heeding that there is a letter's difference, which quite alters he signification of the words. For Aubery [Alberie] is a Christian Name, as Godfrey or Rowland, &c., the l before a consonant is frequently turned into u by the Northern people. But begging pardon for this digression to obviate the scornefull2 smile, Leome back to the Etymologie. What bury [borough] signifies, every one knows: but I was at a great losse for the meaning of the first syllable [az], till Mr. Johannes Heysig3 (a learned Swede) enformed me that Hao signifies od amnis, fluvius, fluentum, in linguâ Suecicaâ. Au is not to be found in the Dutch, or Saxon Dictionairies: but he affirmes, that Au is always fluvius, and that eau in French comes from Au, or Aao; as also ea, as in Eaton, which is a name given to many waterish Townes, e.g. Eaton neer Windsor, Water-Eaton in Oxfordshire, &c. So likewise ey and ay, as Ayton in the North: Chelsey, Chertsey, &c.: so Breda, that is Broadwater. At this Towne's end [sc. Aubury] by the church, is a watery place, which (I thinke) is the source of the River Kynnet.

"But after all that hath been said, I have a conceit, that Aubury is a corruption of Albury that is, Oldbury; or the Old Borough: changeing as is aforesaid 7 before a consonant, into wu: and well agrees with the nature of this Old Place."4

Note 1. The name may have been in the book, as Malmsbury Abbey had a small pension and a few shillings of tithe from Beckhampton in this parish. But Abury Manor never belonged to Malmsbury Abbey.

Note 2. Et facilis cuivis rigidi censura cachinni. Juvenile. Satires. x. [And it is easy to laugh at anyone's rigid criticism]

Note 3. He was Governor to the Lord Spar Of Swedland, who is of the blood Royal: and is a very fine Gentleman.

It is, upon the whole, not improbable that this last explanation is, after all, the true one, and that the various names attached by corrupt pronunciation to antiquities of a similar kind, as Aldborough, Albury, Arbury, Arbor, Aubury, Abury, &c., are only so many different provincial varieties of Old-bury (old camp, burying-place, or town). But if in this particular case the letter v is really and properly one of the letters of the name, there must have been some different origin, and what that was it is not easy to say. In the Sarum Registers (as printed by Sir Thomas Phillipps,) it is constantly spelled Avebury, from 4.D. 1297 downwards. In the Valor Ecclesiasticus, it is printed, Abery, Aubery, and Avebury. Bishop Tanner was for Avebury, and rebukes the Editors of the Old Monasticon for "Anebury." The last variety looks not unlike a corruption of Avon: and in one of the Charters of Monkton Farley Priory dated, ec. 1255, and printed in the New Monasticon, Walter and Osbert de Avenebiri occur as witnesses. But it is not clear that this alluded to the place in Wiltshire. Itis much more likely that it refers to Avenbury, near Bromyard in Herefordshire, as one of the early Bohuns, Earls of Hereford and founders of Monkton Farley Priory (by whom the charter is granted), married a Maud of "Avenbire," believed to have been of Co. Hereford: and the witnesses above-mentioned would probably be her relatives, Had the river Avon taken its source from, or flowed near, Abury, the derivation would have been palpable. But unluckily it does neither. The occurrence of the perplexing letter vin the name, perpetuated one after another by the "ignorant scribes" denounced by the Antiquary, is probably to be attributed to the original spelling in Domesday Book, Avreberie, where the copyist was left in a pleasing uncertainty as to whether he should consider the second letter, w or v. With respect to the derivation, Abii, suggested by one or two who conceived the Temple to have been connected with the worship of the Cabiri or Abiri ("the Three mighty ones"), it is a theory that has had very few advocates, and is not likely to have many more, Rev, J. E. Jackson.

The Beckhampton avenue escaped Aubrey's notice; and it does not appear that he regarded Silbury Hill as in any way connected with the "antiquitie" to which it is so near.

[1688]. Pepys passed through Abury in 1688 [See Diary of Samuel Pepy's 15 Jun 1668], and thus describes what he saw here and at Overton Hill. "In the afternoon came to Abury, where seeing great stones like those of Stonehenge standing up, I stopped, and took a countryman of that town, and he carried me and showed me a place trenched in like Old Sarum almost, with great stones pitched in it, some bigger than those at Stonehenge in figure, to my great admiration: and he told me that most people of learning coming by do come and view them, and that the King (Charles II.) did so: and the mount cast hard by is called Silbury, from one King Seall buried there, as tradition says. I gave this man one shilling. So took coach again, seeing one place with great high stones pitched round, which I believe was once a particular building in some measure like that of Stonehenge. But about a mile off, it was prodigious to see how full the downes are of great stones; and all along the valley, stones of considerable bigness, most of them certainly growing out of the ground: which makes me think the less of the wonder of Stonehenge, for hence they might undoubtedly supply themselves with stones as well as those at Abury."1

Note 1. Pepys's Diary, vol. iii. p. 466, 1854.

Mr. Thomas Twining published in 1725 a work, entitled "Avebury in Wiltshire, the remains of a Roman Work erected by Vespasian and Julius Agricola during their several commands in Brittany, a short essay humbly dedicated to the Right Hon "The Earl of Winchilsea." In this treatise, he stated his belief that Abury was a temple to Terminus, erected by the Romans under Vespasian to mark the northern boundary of the Belgze, and that it had been constructed in the form of a wedge, which the Roman Geographers, according to Tacitus, considered to be the shape of Britain. He also maintained that upon the death of Titus Vespasian, "Agricola caused Selbury Hill to be cast up for his honorary monument." From the supposed resemblance of the temple and its adjuncts to a wedge, Twining gave it the name "Cunetium." The accompanying cut is reduced from Twining's plan of Abury, which is interesting from its inaccuracy and absurdity.

[1730]. From the discursive account of Twining, in which there is much that is altogether irrelevant, all that bears on the actual condition of Abury and its precincts, as observed by him in 1723, five years after Dr. Stukeley's first visit, is here introduced in his own words.

"I take Avebury to have been a temple to Terminus; and that Mr. Cambden meeting with some such tradition, was inclined to think Selborough a boundary, as he doth in his Britannia, (§ 10,14). At Avebury (itself) with its many inward circles of stones (§ 14) the solemnities began and concluded. The circular entrenchment so contrived that the vulgar from thence might view the ceremonies without breaking in on those that officiated (§ 14). Hence they marched with ceremony along the double range of stones for a mile in length, even to the eminence overlooking East Kennet; then halted at the two circles of stones one within another, standing not long since entire. Some remains of the greater circle are yet to be seen (§ 11). The inhabitants have a tradition this was once a place of worship, as I verily believe it; the Romans here keeping their Feralia, in memory of their dead friends, they crowned the stones with garlands and made their offerings to the Manes (§ 12). Then followed the Ludi Funebres in the small plain Selboroughhill stands in; whither by turning to the right, the other range of stones that helps form the Cuwneus (Cunetium, Kennet § 49, 50) conducted them cross the current to a place by nature so fitted to the purpose, (§ 12). Though the neighbouring "Backhampton" is but a small village, its name seems to discover somewhat of the extent and use of the Circus (the whole Cwnetium, as he terms it, he defines as a Circus Lapideus, of between three and four miles1) whether we say that it stood on the back of the Circus, or that they returned this way back in procession (§34). To the oblong part of the Circus this village joins, the Romans, I conceive, gave the name of Discus, in our language a coit, one of the exercises here used. Hence the large stones to the west, the remains of the Discus now standing, are still called the "Devil's Coits [Map]'? (Gale's Iter, p. 135). Not that these two stones were ever British Deities, as some learned men have fancied, but a part of the Discus, as other stones lying in the same field do shew, to justify the figure I have assigned the whole" (§ 36).

Note 1. He insists on the river Kennet "" rising within the work," and so shows it in his plan, though it really rises some miles farther north in the winter bourns, giving their names to the villages so called.

Note 2. The stones called the "Devil's Arrows [Map]" at Boroughbridge, Yorkshire, doubtless derive their name in the same way as these.

It is observable, that Twining no where alludes to any stones remaining between West Kennet and the long stones called the " Devil's Coits," nor any tradition of such. They may be clearly concluded never to have existed except in his own fancy.

It was reserved for Dr. Stukeley1 to give to the world, in 1748, a detailed account of the plan upon which the temple at Abury was constructed. He spent much time on the spot, surveyed it thoroughly, reckoned the stones which were standing, those which were prostrate, and the hollow places indicating the sites of those which had been destroyed. And this he did not merely within the vallum, but in the avenues and the "Sanctuary [Map]" (as it was called) on Kennet Hill. " When I frequented this place," he says, "as I did for some years together, to take an exact account of it, staying a fortnight at a time, I found out the entire work by degrees. The second time I was here, an avenue was a new amusement. The third year another. So that at length I discover'd the mystery of it, properly speaking; which was, that the whole figure represented a snake transmitted thro" a circle; this is an hieroglyphic, or symbol of highest note and antiquity."

Note 1. The Rev. Wm. Stukeley (age 60), M.D., was born at Holbech in Lincolnshire, Noy. 7th, 1687. He was admitted into Bene't College, Cambridge, Nov. 7th, 1703, and chosen scholar there in April following. He applied himself to the study of medicine and anatomy and took the degree of M.B, in 1709, and of M.D, in 1719. He practised for some time in Boston, in London, and in Grantham. In 1728 he married Miss Frances Williamson of Allington, near Grantham. Suffering much from the gout during the winter months, it was customary with him to take several journeys in the spring, in which he indulged his innate love of antiquities. The fruit of these travels was the fol. "Itinerarium Curiosum," Centuria I., London, 1724. The 2nd volume was published in 1776, after his death. In 1729 he was ordained by Archbishop Wake and presented by Lord Chancellor King to the living of All Saints, Stamford. In 1787 he lost his wife, and in 1738 he married the only daughter of Dr. Gale, Dean of York. In 1740 he published his account of Stonehenge, and in 1743 his description of Abury. In 1747 he vacated his preferments in the country, being presented by the Duke of Montagu to the Rectory of St. George's, Queen Square, London. On the 27th of February, 1765, Dr. Stukeley was seized with a paralytic stroke, of which he died on the 3rd of March in his 78th year. He was buried, by his own desire, in the Churchyard of East Ham, in Essex. He left three daughters by his first wife, but had no child by the second. (Vide Nichols's Lit, Aneed. vol. v.) Dr. Stukeley's MSS. were for some time in the possession of the late Mr. Britton, and it is understood that a little before his death, he disposed of them to one of the representatives of the Doctor's family. It is to be hoped that they may be subjected to a careful examination, with a view to the publication of such portions as may still possess an antiquarian value.

That the avenues and the circles on Overton (or rather Kennet) Hill existed originally in the form laid down by Stukeley, cannot reasonably be doubted. Fanciful and credulous as he may occasionally appear, he evidently aimed at accuracy and/truthfulness. At the period of his frequent sojournings at Abury, much had been done in the way of destruction, but it had been done for the most part within the memory of the existing generation, so that the Doctor was able to satisfy himself respecting the site, the destroyer, and the mode of destruction of almost every missing stone. "The custom of destroying them," he writes, "is so late, that I could easily trace the obit of every stone; who did it; for what purpose, and when, and by what method, what house or wall was built out of it, and the like. Every year that I frequented this country, I found several of them wanting; but the places very apparent whence they were taken. So that I was well able, as then, to make a perfect ground-plot of the whole, and all its parts. This is now 20 years ago. Tis to be fear'd, that had it been deferr'd till this time (1740) it would have been impossible." He describes with minuteness1 the particular portions of the temple and avenues which were laid low in his time by Farmers Green and Griffin, and by Tom Robinson, (whose ugly face with a bird of ill omen hovering over it, and his manner of breaking the stones are commemorated in the vignette to page 53 of his work); and does not fail to make honorable mention of Sir Robert Holford, Mr. Charles Tucker, and Reuben Horsall, the Parish Clerk of that day, who all resented these ruthless proceedings, and will be held in grateful remembrance by succeeding generations of English Archeeologists.

See here, here and here

Should any visitor of the antiquities of Abury be sceptical as to the form and extent of them, I would recommend him to walk down the road to Kennet, and observe the remains of the avenue on the right hand side of the road. He could not look upon those two stones and nine stumps of stones and feel a doubt that they had formed a portion of such an avenue as Stukeley has described. The result of the Doctor's long and careful investigations, made as they were before the work of destruction had proceeded too far, was to establish, to his own satisfaction, not only the form of this stupendous work, but the actual number of stones of which each component part had been constructed. He found that the large outer circle within the mound and fosse had been composed of 100 large and unhewn stones, placed about 27 feet asunder. Of these there are at present remaining 10 erect and 8 prostrate, and of some of these last the stumps are so embedded in a bank, as to be almost hidden from view. The dimensions of the two stones of this circle near the turnpike are as follows1:—That nearest the road is 13 feet high, 16 feet wide, and 4 feet thick; the other is 13 feet 10 inches high, 18 feet wide, and 5 feet 6 inches thick. Five stones or portions of stones marked as recumbent in Sir R. Hoare's2 plan have since disappeared, and a sixth, of which a portion then remained above ground, is now reduced to the level of the surrounding meadows.

Note 1. The measurements have in all instances been made at the highest, broadest, ¥ and thickest parts, and were taken for me by Mr. Shepherd, land surveyor, of Abury.

Note 2. It is impossible to write this name without feeling how great arethe claims of Sir R. Hoare upon the gratitude of all English Antiquaries for the two magnificent and truly precious volumes which compose his "Ancient Wiltshire." The first was published in 1812, the second in 1819. Mr. Crocker's surveys are of great value, and greatly enhance the importance of the work. I will take this opportunity of tendering my best thanks to John Gough Nichols, Esq., the proprietor of the copper-plates of the 'Ancient Wiltshire,' for the courteous, prompt, and kind manner in which he acceded to my application for the loan of the three plates of plans, which have been so skilfully transferred to the stone by Mr. West, and which have been adapted to the state of Abury at the present time.

Within this large outer circle were two smaller ones, not concentric, each, according to Stukeley, composed of thirty stones.1

Note 1. It would be difficult to make out Stukeley's double circles in Aubrey's sketch. It will be seen from plate 2, sec. 1., that the latter makes the diameter of the northern circle considerably larger than that of the southern.

Of the southern of these circles two stones remain erect and three prostrate. Three recumbent stones marked in early impressions of Sir R. Hoare's survey of 1812, were removed between that year and 1819. Mr. Lawrence, the venerable Clerk of Abury, pointed out to me their sites in a garden adjoining his own.

Of the northern circle three stones (one of them much reduced in size) are now erect and one prostrate. One which was standing when Sir Richard Hoare described Abury has since been broken up. It projected into the road leading to Winterbourne Monkton, as may be seen in Stukeley's large plan; and as the carters were constantly driving against it, it was removed when the road was widened, and its fragments now form the wall which serves for the eastern boundary of the road.

Within each of these two circles Stukeley thinks there was a concentric circle of twelve stones. Of that within the northern circle, the last remaining stone when Mr. Crocker's survey for Sir R. Hoare was made in 1812, was removed about thirty years ago, as it unfortunately stood near the entrance to the farmer's rick yard. Of that within the southern circle nothing now remains.

Within the northern of these circles, in its centre, were three very large stones which formed the Adytum or Cove of the Temple [Map], as Stukeley termed it. 'These were plac'd with an obtuse angle towards each other, and as it were, upon an ark of a circle, like the great half-round at the east end of some old Cathedrals."1 Of these two remain, standing at an angle of about 110 degrees. The' third, 7 yards in length, fell in 1713, and was broken up. The taller of the two is 17 feet high, 7 feet 7 inches wide, and 2 feet 4 inches thick. The other is 14 feet 7 inches high, 14 feet 7 inches wide, and 4 feet thick. "The altar properly lay upon the ground before this superb nich. That no doubt was carry'd off long ago, as not being fix'd in the earth."2 The late Mr. Brown of Amesbury says, "Before the central one of the three, facing, (like the altar trilithon of Stonehenge) the north east, was placed the stone on which the sacrifices were burnt. This I ascertained myself by digging, the place being still apparent where it lay, but now filled up with rubbish."3 In an interesting paper on the state of Abury in 1829, in the Gentleman's Magazine, Mr. Joseph Hunter states that he was informed by a labourer that the earth had been examined to the depth of a yard or more, at the foot of these stones, to see if there were any evidences of sacrifices having been performed there, but nothing peculiar was observed.

Note 1. Stukeley's Abury, p. 23. "The vulgar call them 'the Devil's brand irons.'" p. 24,

Note. Ditto.

Note 3. Brown's Stonehenge and Abury, 4th edition, p. 34.

In the centre of the southern inner circle of twelve stones was one stone [Avebury South Circle Obelisk [Map]], described by Stukeley as having been of a circular form at the base, of a vast bulk, 21 feet long, 8 feet 9 inches in diameter, and when standing, higher than the rest. It formed, in Stukeley's opinion, the "Kibla," "Ambre," or central obelisk of this temple. Nothing now remains of it.

In the southern end of the line that connected the two centres of these temples, and between the southern temple and the circumvallation, a single stone was standing in Stukeley's time. It was not of great bulk, but it had a hole wrought in it, to which Stukeley thought that the victim was attached before it was slain. This, which he called the "Ring Stone [Map]," has entirely disappeared.

With respect to the mode of arrangement of the stones composing these circles, Stukeley says, "that as they generally have a rough and a smoother side, care was taken to place the most sightly side inwards, towards the included area." "They set the largest and handsomest stones in the more conspicuous parts of the temple, which is that southward, and about the entrances of the two avenues."

The Vallum

The vallum or rampart enclosing the great circle at Abury, and which, unlike military works, has the fosse adjoining it on the inside,1 contains, according to Sir Richard Hoare, an area of 28 acres and 27 perches, and has a circumference of 4,442 feet.? It is not quite circular, being from the Kennet entrance to the opposite side 1170 feet, and from the Beckhampton entrance to its opposite side 1260 feet wide. It rises 34 feet above the surrounding field and descends into a fosse 9 feet wide at the bottom, at a depth of 33 feet below the level of the meadows in the interior. The whole slope of the vallum on the inside is upwards of 70 feet, and about halfway between the top of the mound and the bottom of the fosse is a flat ledge, 12 feet wide, supposed to have been for spectators at the public festivals. In making its circuit, the visitor will come upon a portion near the church which has been obliterated. Dr. Stukeley says respecting it, "" When the Lord Stowell, who own'd the manor of Abury, leyell'd the vallum on that side of the town next the church, where the barn now stands, the workmen came to the original surface of the ground, which was easily discernible by a black stratum of mold upon the chalk. Here they found large quantities of buck's horns, bones, oyster shells, and wood coals. The old man who was employ'd in the work says, there was the quantity of a cart-load of the horns, that they were very rotten, that there were very many burnt bones among them. They were the remains of sacrifices.''3

Note 1. At Stonehenge the ditch is on the outside of the vallum.

Note 2. "The compass of this, on the outside, Mr, Roger Gale and I measured about 4800 feet, August 16th, 1721." Stukeley's Abury, p. 20. Aubrey's plan of the vallum, taken with the plane table, is more correct than Stukeley's, and nearly resembles that of Mr. Crocker, "It was projected" he says, "by the halfe inch scale."

Note 3. Stukeley's Abury, p. 27.

The Avenues and Sanctuary

We now proceed to the avenues, each of which was composed of 200 stones, and was of a sinuous course, and about a mile and a half in length. The head of the serpent, (which reptile the whole work was supposed by Stukeley to have been designed to represent,) rested on Overton or Kennet Hill, and the tail extended from Abury in the direction of Beckhampton. The head was called the "Sanctuary [Map]," and was composed of two concentric ovals, the outer containing 40, the inner 18 stones.1 The diameter of the outer oval, according to Stukeley, was 138 feet 4 inches by 155 feet 6 inches. That of the inner one was 44 feet 11 inches by 51 feet 103 inches. Of these circles, as he found them in 1723, Stukeley gives an engraving.2 They stood in what is still called Mill Field, and their sites are shown in Nos. 20, 21, and 29 of Stukeley's illustrations. Farmer Green took away the stones and Farmer Griffin ploughed up the ground, in 1724. 'The loss of this work," says Stukeley [See Stukeley],3 "I did not lament alone; but all the neighbours (except the person that gain'd the little dirty profit) were heartily griev'd for it. It had a beauty that touch'd them far beyond those much greater circles in Abury town. The stones here were not large, set pretty close together, the proportions of them with the intervals, and the proportions between the two circles, all being taken at one view under the eye, charmed them. The great stones of the great circles at Abury were not by them discern'd to stand in circles, nor could they easily be persuaded of it. But these of the sanctuary they still talk of with pleasure and regret."

Note 1. "It can hardly now be thought that the number was really 19, as some have supposed, e.g. the Rev. E. Duke, 'Druidical Temples of Wiltshire,' p. 64, 178. Several megalithic circles in Cornwall are of 19 stones, also the inner oval at Stonehenge, as is thought; and each side of the avenue at Classerness; in all of which the number 19 is with some reason believed to refer to the Metonie Cycle." —[Dr. Thurnam. ]

Note 2. For Aubrey's account of these circles on Overton Hill, see above p. 317, and for his plan of them, see plate 3, fig. 1. He makes the diameter of the outer circle 45 paces, of the inner 16; the outer circle to consist of 22 stones, the inner of 15, There are no traces on his plan of the cireular trench around it, which he mentions in his description. The mode in which the avenue narrowed and bent at its junction with the outer circle, as shown by him, is very curious, and favours the notion of a dracontine form.

Note 3. It is difficult to discover the extent of Stukeley's acquaintance with the 'Monumenta Britannica.' With reference to the 'Sanctuary,' he writes as if he had not seen more than the short account published in Gibson's edition of Camden's 'Britannia;' while it is clear from pages 33 and 45 of his "Abury," that he must have known more of the MS. than is there printed.

Outside this temple, and at a little more than a foot below the surface, Dr. Toope, then living at Marlborough, found in 1678 the ground full of human skulls and bones. The feet lay towards the temple. In a letter to Aubrey, from which an extract is given below, the Doctor describes his discovery, as well as the professional use which he made of it, for the benefit of his fortunate patients at Marlborough.1 "Mr. Aubrey says, sharp and form'd flints were found among them.2

Note 1. "In Wilts, between Kinnett and Overton, on the lands of one Captayne Walter Grubb, I approach'd workmen digging not far off the roade; I inquir'd their digging, who answer'd, 'making new boundaries to enclose for French grasse or 5 foile.' Said the men, 'we throw up many bones here, but know not of what creatures.' I quickly perceiy'd they were humane, and came the next day and dugg for them, and stored myselfe with many bushells, of which I made a noble medicine that relieved many of my distressed neighbours: the bones large, and almost rotten, but the teeth extreme and wonderfully white, hard and sound. (No tobacco taken in those daies.) About eighty yards from it is a large spherical foundation, (he means circular) whose diameter is forty yards, by which you know the circuit. Within this large temple there is another orbe, whose sphere is 15 yards in diameter; round about this temple a most exact plaine and superficies; under this superficies layd the bones soe close one by another, that scul toucheth scul, - I exposed 2 or 3, and never took up a bone of them to observe and see in what manner they lay. I perceived their fect lay toward the temple, and but little more than a foot under the superficies. At the feet of the first order, I saw lay the heads of the next, as above, their feet intending the temple; I really believe the whole plaine, on that even ground, is full of dead bodies," (Dr. R. Toope to Mr, Aubrey, from Bristoll, 1 Dec., 1685.)

Note by Mr. Aubrey relating to the above letter. "This was discovered in 1678, and Dr. Toope was lately at the Golgotha again to supply a defect of medicine he had from hence."

Note 2. Stukeley's Abury, p, 33.

The Kennet Avenue

Of the Kennet avenue, the eastern part of which represented the neck of the serpent, and which narrowed as it mounted, Kennet Hill to join the head, Stukeley says, "Mr. Smith living here, informed me that when he was a schoolboy, the Kennet avenue was entire, from end to end." As however the stones composing it covered a few feet of ground which the Greens and Griffins coveted, a war of extermination was waged against them; and when the stubborn blocks refused to succumb to fire and the hammer, they were buried in pits dug about them; "Two of them lie six feet under ground in the premises of Mr. Butler of Kennet, and over another the Bath road passes."1 The work of destruction has been so successfully carried out that only 19 stones, or their stumps, are now visible between West Kennet and Abury; four in the bank on the left hand side of the road from Marlborough as it enters Kennet, and which can only be seen by going into the adjoining field;2 two on the Abury side of Kennet, between which the road passes; eleven in the field on the left of the road; one on the brow of the hill by the road side; and one close to the turnpike gate outside the vallam. Measuring the breadth of the avenue in several places, where Stukeley "had an opportunity of two opposite stones being left, he found a difference; and the like by measuring the interval of stones sideways; yet there was the same proportion preserved between breadth and interval, which he found to be as 2 to 3. So that by Abury town in a part that represented the belly of the snake, the breadth of the avenue was 34 cubits (564 feet) and the intervals of the stones sides 50 cubits (863 feet,) the proportion of 2 to 3.'

Note 1. The Rev. J. B. Deane's "Worship of the Serpent traced throughout the World," p. 381, 1833.

Note 2. These four stones lie about 30 paces apart. That these were the original, or nearly the original distances, seems confirmed by Stukeley's 20th plate.

Note 3. Stukeley, p. 29. In the Charter of Athelstane quoted hereafter, will be found the earliest notice (probably) of this avenue, or indeed of any part of Abury.

Upon the ground plan on the opposite page, the distances between the eleven stones, above mentioned, are laid down. The only stone now standing is 8 feet 9 inches high, 9 feet 9 inches wide, and 3 feet thick. The stone nearer Kennet, but on the same side of the road from Abury, is 7 feet high, 3 feet 6 inches thick, and 5 feet wide. Mr. Shepherd of Abury, who took these measurements for me, informed me that he well remembered the removal, about 35 years ago, of three stones near this last, all on the right hand side of the road from Abury. The horses used to shy at them in the dusk of the evening, and bolt down the bank on the other side of the road.1 The stones composing this avenue were, according to Stukeley, "of all shapes, sizes, and height that happen'd, altogether rude." Some which he measured were 6 feet thick and 16 in circumference. "If of a flattish make, the broadest dimension was set in the line of the avenue, and the most sightly side of the stone inward. The founders were sensible, all the effect desired in the case, was their bulk and regular station."2

Note 1. "Mr, Butler of Kennet informed me, in 1829, that these stones were removed by order of the Trustees of the Turnpike Road for the reason alleged by Mr. Shepherd, viz.; because horses used to shy at them! Mr. Butler did all he could to dissuade the Magistrates and Farmers from destroying them, but they were inexorable."—(Rey. J. B. Deane, 1857.)

Note 2. Stukeley's Abury, p. 30. Aubrey's sketch of this avenue (pl. ii. fig. 2,) was doubtless drawn from memory, and hence its obvious inaccuracies,

The Beckhampton Avenue

The Beckhampton avenue which, according to Stukeley, formed the tail of the sacred reptile, and like the other, was composed, as he calculated, of 200 stones, left the vallum nearly at the W. point, and passing by the south side of what is now the churchyard, took the direction of Beckhampton. It was about the same length as the Kennet avenue, and narrowing gradually ended (as he believed), in a single stone in a low valley onthedown between the Devizes and Calne roads, near a fine group of barrows.' Stukeley speaks of ten stones of this avenue known to have been standing within memory, between the exit of the avenue from the vallum and the brook. Four stones were visible between this point and the entrance of the avenue upon the open cultivated fields. "When it has cross'd the way leading from South street, we discern here and there the remains of it, in its road to Longstone Cove. Farmer Griffin broke near 20 of the stones of this part of the avenue."

The two large stones [Long Stones Cove aka Devil's Quoits [Map]] near the Long barrow [Map] stand "on the midway of the length of the avenue," and are "placed upon an eminence, the highest ground which the avenue passes over." One of these stones set upon the arc of a circle at an obtuse angle with two others, which have disappeared, formed a cove resembling that in the centre of the northern temple at Abury, of which Aubrey has preserved a sketch. The stone now standing is 16 feet high, as many broad, and 3½ thick, and formed the eastern jamb of the cove. The back stone, of like dimension, which was lying on the ground when Stukeley wrote, has been removed many years; while the third was carried away by Richard Fowler when Stukeley was at Abury. Aubrey, in his 'Monumenta Britannica,' thus speaks of the stones he saw at this spot; "Southward from Aubury in the ploughed field, doe stand three huge upright stones, perpendicularly, like the three stones at Aubury; they are called the Devill's Coytes." (See plate viii. 2.1) Dr. Musgrave speaks of them as 'Diaboli Disci,' and says that Dr. Gale considered them to have been Belgic Herme.2 Of the stones which formed the part of the avenue between Abury and this cove, Stukeley says, "Many stones by the way are just buried under the surface of the earth. Many lie in the balks and meres, and many fragments are remov'd to make boundaries for the fields; but more whole ones have been burnt to build withal, within every body's memory. One stone still remains standing, near Longstone Cove."3 Describing the course of the ayenue from the cove towards its end, he says, "The avenue continu'd its journey by the corn-fields. Three stones lie still by the field-road coming from South street to the Caln road. Mr. Alexander told me he remember'd several stones standing by the parting of the roads under Bekamton, demolish'd by Richard Fowler. Then it descends by the road to Cherill, till it comes to the Bath road, close by the Roman road, and there in the low valley it terminates, near a fine group of barrows, under Cherill-hill, in the way to Oldbury-camp; this is west of Bekamton village.".... "In this very point only you can see the temple on Overton Hill [Map], on the south side of Silbury Hill. Here I am sufficiently satisfied this avenue terminated, at the like distance from Abury-town, as Overton Hill was, in the former avenue; 100 stones on a side, 6000 cubits in length, ten stadia or the eastern mile. Several stones are left dispersedly on banks and meres of the lands. One great stone belonging to this end of the avenue, lies buried almost under ground, in the plow'd land between the barrow west of Longstone long barrow, and the last hedge in the town of Bekamton. Richard Fowler shew'd me the ground here, whence he took several stones and demolish'd them. I am equally satisfied there was no temple or circle of stones at thisendofit".... Had there been, "it would most assuredly have been well known, because every stone was demolish'd within memory when I was there. I apprehend this end of the avenue drew narrower in imitation of the tail of a snake, and that one stone stood in the middle of the end, by way of close."4

Note 1. Aubrey's sketch gives the position, not the form of these stones. For a representation of the remaining one, see Hoare's 'Ancient Wilts,' ii. pl. xv. f. 2.

Note 2. "De lapidibus altis immense magnitudinis quos Diaboli Discos appellat vulgus, plurime sunt conjecture, quarum unam alibi tangam." Musgrave's 'Belgium Britannicum,' vol. i. p. 44, 1719. "Sed ut hanc rem extra dubium ponam doctissimus Galzeus, in explicandis veterum monumentis cum primis sagax, Agro Cunetioni vicino (est illud oppidulum Belgii) tres lapides pyramidales esse tradit, quos Hermas esse non sine ratione judicat, iisque non absimiles, quos propeIsurium (Aldborough) inventos ere insculpi fecit. Tres erant hujusmodi lapides in hoe agro, ut in Isuriano, et forte ad eundem usum nempe viam commonstrandam, unde Mercurius dicebatur ενόδιος." Ibid, p. 111.

Of the high stones of immense size, which the common people call the Devil's Discs, there are many conjectures, one of which I shall touch upon elsewhere.

But in order to put this matter beyond doubt, the most learned Galzeus, with the first skill in explaining ancient monuments, reports that in Agro Cunetion (that is a small town in Belgium) there are three pyramidal stones, which he judges not without reason to be Hermas, and not unlike those which are near Isuria (Aldborough). He made the finds to be engraved. There were three stones of this kind in this field, as in the Isurian, and perhaps for the same use, that is to say, to mark the way, whence Mercury was said to be single.

Note 3. This stone, the solitary remnant of the Beckhampton avenue, is still standing (1857). It is shown to the N. of the Cove Stone in the large ground plan, and it is figured in 'Ancient Wilts,' ii. pl. xv. 2.

Note 4. Stukeley's Abury, pp. 34, 35, 36, and plates i., xxiv., and xxv,

I have been more particular in giving a full account of this avenue, as the question naturally arises, how far should Aubrey's silence respecting the Beckhampton avenue affect our faith in Stukeley's description of it?1 Aubrey and Dr. Musgrave, both mention the 'Devil's Coits' only, and we have no one to speak to the fact of there having been other stones in that neighbourhood but Twining, who mentions "other stones lying in the same field." It must, however, be observed that the course of the Beckhampton avenue from Abury is of a more private character than that of the Kennet avenue. It does not adjoin any public road until it approaches Beckhampton, and it passed for the most part over fields, which have been for a long time in cultivation. Scattered stones might therefore have been lying about on the line of it which would not attract the notice of a careless observer, while the great size of the stones called the 'Devil's Coits' would throw smaller ones into the shade. And except in the open fields leading to Beckhampton, it would have been difficult, one would think, to find any stones remaining; as, unlike the line of the other avenue, this one has a great many cottages and a bridge on its course, which would naturally be constructed out of so convenient a quarry. Many stones, too, besides those brought thither by Farmer Green, must have been used in building at Beckhampton. It is very likely that Stukeley's "original memoirs which he wrote on the spot very largely," and of which he adds "that it was necessary for him then to do it, in order to get a thorough intelligence of it," (See p. 16), may throw further light upon this matter and help to clear up the question, how far his Dracontian theory, as applied to Abury, had its origin in facts; or how far his fancy for that particular theory may have led him to supply from his own imagination the deficiencies in the evidence necessary for its support. It must, at present, be admitted that the evidence for this western avenue is of a much less decisive character than that for the eastern. Different minds will regard it in different ways. Some will think that it extended no further than the "Cove" or "Long Stones;" some that it ended, like that leading to Kennet, in a circle, or double circle of stones; whilst others, among whom the favorers of Ophite theories of various kinds will be found, will with Stukeley, (and perhaps truly,) see in its "disjecta membra" [dismembered limbs] the tail of the Great Serpent, forming an avenue of equal length with that which leads to Kennet.

Note 1. It is possible that Mr. E. Philips's information (see p. 317) may have referred to some of the buildings in the neighbourhood of 'South Street', on the line of this avenue.

The Sarsen Stones

The entire number of stones composing the serpent in its course from Overton to Beckhampton, including those within the circuit of the vallum, was calculated by Stukeley to be 650. They were brought from the adjoining vallies, and are thus described by Aubrey in his 'Natural History of Wiltshire;' "They are also (far from the rode) commonly called Sarsdens, or Sarsdon stones. About two or three miles from Andover is a village called Sersden, i.e. Csars dene, perhaps don: Czsar's dene, Czesar's plains; now Salisbury plaine. (So Salisbury, Cesaris Burgus.) But I have mett with this kind of stones sometimes as far as from Christian Malford in Wilts to Abington; and on the downes about Royston, &c., as far as Huntington, are here and there those Sarsden stones. They peep above the ground a yard and more high, bigger and lesser. Those that lie in the weather are so hard that no toole can touch them. They take a good polish. As for their colour, some are a kind of dirty red, towards porphyry; some perfect white; some dusky white; some blew like deep blew marle; some of a kind of olive greenish colour; but generally they are whitish. Many of them are mighty great ones, and particularly those in Overton Wood. Of these kind of stones are framed the two stupendous antiquities of Aubury and Stone-heng.... Sir Christopher Wren sayes they doe pitch all one way, like arrowes shot.... Sir Christopher thinks they were cast up by a vulcano."1

Note 1. p, 44, See the account of a plain of stones near Marseilles, in Strabo B. iv. c. 1. § 7.

Stukeley's theory respecting the Sarsen stones is amusing enough; "This whole country, hereabouts, is a solid body of chalk, cover'd with a most delicate turf. As this chalky matter harden'd at creation, it spew'd out the most solid body of the stones, of greater specific gravity than itself; and assisted by the centrifuge power, owing to the rotation of the globe upon its axis, threw them upon its surface, where they now lic. This is my opinion concerning this appearance, which I often attentively consider'd."1

Note 1. Stukeley's 'Abury,' p. 16. See also his 'Stonehenge,' pp. 4, 6.

Mr. Cunnington, who is as distinguished an illustrator of the geology of his native county, as his grandfather was of its primæval antiquities, in a communication to the Devizes Gazette, in June 1852, says; 'The composition of the Sarsens is nearly pure silex, that is, they consist of fine silicious sand, agglutinated by a silicious cement —a process which may be familiarly illustrated by what may be observed when a small quantity of water is dropped into a basin of dry, granular sugar; a portion of the sugar dissolves, and causes the grains to adhere to each other, thus forming a mass which on drying becomes solid.

"They contain no carbonate of lime, and the slight trace of oxide of iron may be due to the infiltration of ferruginous particles from the neighbouring soil, as it may be remarked that the exterior of the stones only is stained with iron, the interior being generally beautifully white. Mr. R. Clark, chemist, of Devizes, has recently confirmed this opinion by a fresh analysis. They appear to contain no saline particles whatever, and the dampness observed on walls built with this material is due to the precipitation of the moisture of the atmosphere upon the cold surface of the stone.

"With regard to the origin of these remarkable masses of rock, but few facts have been absolutely established. An examination of the MSS. of Mr. Cunnington, the antiquary, has recently brought to light the interesting fact that William Smith, "the father of English geology," was the first who advanced the opinion, still held by our leading geologists, that an extensive stratum of sand, containing these stones, once covered the chalk in these districts; that the softer portions were carried away by the action of water, leaving the solid blocks behind, on the surface.

"That they belong to the 'tertiary formations' (the strata above the chalk) is evident, from the fact that they frequently contain chalk flints: these having been, in all probability, derived from the destruction of elevated and exposed portions of the chalk stratum. That the Sarsens were not transported from any great distance would also appear from the circumstance that they are co-extensive with and confined to, the surface of the chalk, from the wolds of Yorkshire to the hills of Sidmouth in Devonshire. Instances, however, occur (although the contrary has lately been asserted) where, as stated by Dr. Buckland, (Geol. Trans. vol. ii. p. 1), they have been drifted beyond the present area of the chalk, for example, at Portisham in Dorsetshire.

"With the exception of some traces of vegetables (apparently fucoids) no organic remains have been found in these rocks; hence it is difficult to ascertain to what member of the tertiary series they belonged: but it may be remarked that they have a great resemblance to some of the sands of the Bagshot sand formation. The finding of a few shells in the Sarsens would go far to give them a respectable "locus standi" [standing] among other rocks. The Sarsen stones have furnished the materials for the construction of the whole of the Druidical temple of Avebury, and the outer circle and the large trilithons of Stonehenge as well as the Cromlech at Clatford, and other similar remains in various parts of England.1 From this circumstance the term "Druid sand-stone" has been applied to them by geologists. It may not be amiss to notice here one other circumstance connected with these stones. From time to time fresh blocks appear above the surface of the earth, and the plough occasionally strikes on one hidden in a field, where similar operations had been carried on for years, without any such obstruction presenting itself. This has induced the country people to adopt the belief (to which they adhere most pertinaciously), that stones grow. Such appearances, however, are readily accounted for when we remember that the earth surrounding these stones is constantly being reduced in level (especially in sloping fields) by the combined action of the plough and atmospheric influences; whilst the stones themselves, resting on a solid bed of chalk or gravel, cannot sink lower.

"The abundance of these remains, particularly in some of the vallies of North Wilts, is very remarkable. Few persons who have not seen them, can form an adequate idea of the extraordinary scene presented to the spectator, who, standing on the brow of one of the hills near Clatford, sees, stretching for miles before him, countless numbers of these gigantic stones, occupying the middle of the valley, and winding like a mighty stream towards the south. Three or four small lateral vallies, containing a similar deposit, and converging to the main valley, add to the impression which almost involuntarily forces itself on the mind, that it must be a stream of rocks, e'en now flowing onward.

"The lichens growing on the surface give a delicate blue tint to the stones, and when seen by the light of the afternoon's sun, especially towards the close of the summer season, the tout ensemble presents a picture of striking and peculiar beauty.

"The specifiic gravity of Sarsen stone is about 2500 or 13 times greater than that of water. The weight per cubic foot is 154 lbs The length of the largest stone at Stonehenge is 25 feet. The weight of the largest stone at Avebury (in the cove of the north circle of the temple), being probably the most massive Sarsen in Wilts, is 62 tons. A larger specimen stood in the same structure a few years since, but is now unhappily destroyed, the weight of which was not less than 90 tons."

Note 1. Amongst others the stones of Weland's Smithy [Map], near the White Horee, in Berkshire.

In a subsequent communication to the same paper (June, 1853), Mr. Cunnington says, "Some important information as to the original stratum from which these masses of rock were derived, has lately been communicated to the Geological Society by Jos. Prestwich, Esq., F.G.S. Mr. Prestwich is of opinion that they belonged to a series of beds beneath the London Clay, which he proposes to call the 'Woolwich and Reading beds,' and which constitute the second group above the chalk, in the South Eastern districts of England.

"The mottled clays adjacent to the chalk at Alum Bay in the Isle of Wight, the sands and mottled clays of Hungerford, Newbury and Reading and the shelly strata of Woolwich, all belong to this group. In some localities (as at Nettlebed Hill, near Oxford) masses of rock similar to the Sarsen stones of the Wiltshire Downs, may be seen in their original position in the beds of sand: and near Dieppe there is a continuous bed of them a mile in length.

"Tn this county, however, not only the Woolwich and Reading beds, but the associated tertiary strata, have mostly been removed by some powerful agency. The only remaining traces of them are to be found in the outliers of sand and clay in the neighbourhood of Marlborough, and on the higher hills of Salisbury Plain, and in the blocks of sandstone (Sarsens) which are so numerous on some of our downs. The latter are most interesting, as having supplied the whole of the material of the temple of Avebury and the larger stones of Stonehenge."

Silbury Hill [Map]

I must proceed to say a few words respecting that remarkable conical and artificial mound, Silbury Hill, which stands due south of the great circle, and midway between the extremities of the avenues. Its name is supposed, by some, to be derived from the Anglo-Saxon words 'Sil' or 'Sel,' great, and 'bury,' mound:1 by others, Silbury is interpreted to mean the 'hill of the sun,' and to have had a similar dedication to that of the hills of Salisbury and Sulisbury at Sarum and Bath. This great work is supposed by Mr. Davies ('Celtic Researches') to have been the third of the mighty labours of the Island of Britain, viz., the piling up of the Mount of Assemblies. Upon this subject, Sir R. Hoare says, "In the Welsh Traids, perhaps some allusion may have been made to this stately mount, in the fourteenth Triad." 'The three mighty labours of the Island of Britain: erecting the Stone of Ketti; constructing the work of Emrys; and heaping the pile of Cyvrangon.' The Stone of Ketti is, upon good authority, supposed to be a great cromlech, in the district of Gower in Glamorganshire, still retaining the title of Maen-Cetti; and the work of Emrys or Ambrosius has been applied to Stonehenge. Why may not the heaping of the pile of Cyvrangon allude to Silbury? The three primary circles of Britain have been named Gorsedd Beisgawen, Gorsedd Bryn Gwyddon, and Gorsedd Moel Evwr; upon which Mr. William Owen, the celebrated Welsh scholar, has sent me the following explanation: "Cludair Cyvrangon and Gorsedd Bryn Gwyddon must have had their appellation, one from the other, as the names imply as much. For Cludair Cyvrangon means the heap of congregations or assemblies; not that the assemblies could have been held on Bryn Gwyddon or Silbury Hill, but that they were contiguous; that is, in the circle of Brynn Gwyddon, or the hill of the conspicuous or men of the presence; so that each of these places took their names respectively from each other; and it is thus that I identify Bryn Gwyddon and Cludair Cyvrangon in Silbury Hill and Abury."2

Note 1. Aubrey's account of Silbury is as follows. ''I returne now to the Mausolea of our owne countrey, and will first set down Silbury Hill in Wiltshire, a little on the right hand of the rode from Marleborough to Bristow, about a mile from Kynet, west. Iam sorry that I did not take the circumference of the bottom and top and length of the hill: but I neglected it, because that Sir Jonas Moor, Surveyor of the Ordnance, had measured it accurately, and also tooke the solid content, which he promised to give me; but upon his death, that amongst many excellent papers of his, was lost. I remember, he told me, that according to the rate of work for labourers in the Tower at.... the floor, it would cost threescore or rather (I think) fourscore thousand pounds to make such a hill now.

"No history gives any account of this hill; the tradition only is, that King Sil or Zel, as the countrey folke pronounce, was buried here on horseback, and that the hill was raysed while a posset of milke was seething. The name of this hill, as also of Silchester, makes me suspect it to be a Roman name, se, Silius."—Mon. Brit., vol. ii. pt. 3, page 6.

Note 2. Ancient Wiltshire, vol. ii,, p. 83.

Silbury has been raised upon a jutting-out promontory, and the earth and chalk of which it was composed were taken from the adjoining land. The extent of ground from which the surface was removed for this purpose may be easily traced in the meadow which surrounds the hill. Its construction must have been a Herculean labour even for a large body of men, at a time when the means and appliances for such undertakings were probably very imperfect when compared with those of the present day. Several calculations have been made of the dimensions of the hill, but they vary materially, and it may be doubted whether any, yet made, can be relied on. That given by Sir Richard Hoare makes the circumference of the hill at the base, 2027 feet, the diameter at the top 120 feet, the sloping height 316 feet, and the perpendicular height 170 feet,1 while the space covered by the hill is 5 acres and 34 perches. Dean Merewether has stated that he saw sarsens set round the base of the hill and that he counted eight of them. A close examination, with a friend, has, however, convinced me that the Dean was in error, unless there has been a removal of stones since his sojourn at Beckhampton, which we have no reason to suppose has been the case. We found one or two under the turf, entirely covered, and another small one above the turf, but these are clearly insufficient to bear out the Dean's assertion.2

Note 1. The Pyramid of Mycerinus is 174 feet high:—the tomb of Alyattes near the ruins of Sardis, is more than 200 feet high, and 6 furlongs in circumference. The tumulus on the crest of Mount Mithridates near Kertch, which is unlike those in the neighbourhood, being walled from top to bottom, like a Cyclopean monument, is 100 feet high and 150 feet in diameter. An account has recently appeared in the newspapers of the removal of a cairn, 250 feet in height, in the Russian province of Ekatarinoslaw. It is supposed to have been one of the burial places of the Scythian Kings, mentioned by Herodotus, and was found to contain numerous articles of gold, silver, bronze, iron, clay, skeletons of horses, &c.

Note 2. The Dean's enumeration of the stones remaining in 1849 of the circles within the vallum, (p, 89, Salisbury volume of the Arch. Institute,) is far from correct, and must not be quoted hereafter as giving a true account of the state of the temple in that year. Had he lived to superintend the publication of his paper, he would doubtless have detected and corrected the errors. He gave the number of stones in the outer circle then erect to be 7, prostrate 5. The number erect in the present year (1857) is 10, prostrate 8, Again, he says that of the inner circle of the northern temple, there are 2 prostrate stones. This was a mistake, as neither in 1849 or 1857 were any stones remaining of this circle.

Stukeley considered Silbury to be the tomb of some Royal Founder of Abury, and tells us that the royal remains were dug up on the top of the hill in 1723, together with the King's bridle, of which he gives an engraving in his 36th plate. That the hill, however, was not a sepulchral mound1 has been proved, to the satisfaction of many, by the searching examinations of the interior which were made by workmen employed by the Duke of Northumberland and Colonel Drax in 1777, when a shaft was sunk from the top to the bottom; and by Mr. Blandford, for the Archeological Institute, in 1849,2 when a tunnel was bored at the natural level of the ground upon which the mound had been raised. Of those who with Sir Richard Hoare, discountenanced the idea of its being a gigantic tumulus, some have entertained the belief that it was a component part of the temple of Abury; others have considered it to have been constructed for a secular purpose, such as the solemn promulgation of laws to the people, as is now done in the Isle of Man at the meetings of the Tinwald in the open air, ona hill top near the middle of the Island; while others again have conjectured that it was erected for astronomical observations, and it is perhaps not improbable that it was made use of for this purpose and also for religious rites.

Note 1. Twining supports his statement that Silbury Hill was a monument to Titus Vespasian by the fact of the stile leading to it, as he was "credibly informed, being called Titus's style to this day." (§ 33.)

Note 2. A full account of this examination of the hill is given in the Salisbury volume of the Archwological Institute.

The practice of resorting to the top of Silbury Hill on Palm Sunday which Stukeley mentions, and in which traces of the old Pagan processions may perhaps be recognized, is still kept up by the children of the neighbourhood.1 On these occasions it was the custom in Stukeley's day for the country people to 'make merry with cakes, figs, sugar, and water fetched from the 'Swallow head,'" which was the sacred spring of the district, and the principal source of the River Kennet.2

Note 1. A similar custom with respect to Clea Hill, near Warminster, is stated by Sir R. Hoare to have prevailed on Palm Sundays, when he wrote his 'Ancient Wiltshire.' See vol. ii. p, 80, note.

Note 2. Stukeley's Abury, p. 44.

The Roman Road

"The Roman Road" says Stukeley, "in its course from Overton Hill to Runway Hill should have pass'd directly through Silbury Hill; wherefore they curv'd a little southward to avoid it, and it runs close by the isthmus of the hill, then thro' the fields of Bekampton. This shews Silbury Hill was ancienter than the Roman Road."1 Any one who will take the trouble to rule a line on the Ordnance Map between Overton Hill and Morgan's Hill (Stukeley's "Runway Hill," see 'Itin. Cur.' Iter. vi. p. 133, 1724, and plate at page 20 of his 'Abury,') will see how erroneous the first part of this statement is, and how much more correctly Stukeley wrote in his 'Itinerary.' He there says, "When from the top of this hill you look towards Marlborough, which is full east, you may discern that the road curves a little northward, not discernible but in the whole. The reason is to be attributed to the River Kennet, thrusting it out somewhat that way, otherwise the true line should have lain a little more to the south of Silbury.'"2 Had the road from Runway Hill been carried straight to Marlborough, it would have passed considerably to the south of Silbury, but in so doing, it must have crossed the Kennet several times, and it was doubtless to avoid this that the framers of the road conducted it to the north of the river, and brought it near the base of Silbury. The course of the road over the downs is very far from being a straight one, and certainly no deflection was necessary to avoid cutting into the side of the old British Mound. It is right, however, that I should add that many persons believe that Stukeley was right; and it is stated in the Salisbury volume of the Archaological Institute3 that Mr. Blandford, the engineer who directed the opening of the hill in 1849, came to the conclusion, "that the road was carried round the base of the tumulus to avoid it, and was thereby diverted from its otherwise direct course."

Note 1. Stukeley's Abury, p. 133.

Note 2. Stukeley's Abury, p. 134.

Note 3. Archaological Institute p. 303.

It was the opinion of Stukeley, that this road, although 'chalked out,' as he calls it, was never completed; the framers of it having undertaken it "toward the declension of their empire here, when they found not time to finish it."1 This, however, is opposed by the fact that the stations on this road, Cunetio, Verlucio, &c., are enumerated in the 14th Iter of Antoninus. The pits or cavities at the sides, from which they took the materials for forming it are very visible, and it is curious to see in one place, how they dug into what is called a Druid's barrow, which happened to be on the line they had selected.2 On the top of the hill above this spot the flint diggers have recently cut into the middle of the road and made it clear that there was no foundation of stones or rubble, but that it consisted merely of the chalk and earth thrown up from the excavations made at its sides.

Note 1. Stukeley's Abury, p. 26.

Note 2. From Stukeley's description and 9th plate, it would appear that they also helped themselves very freely to the crown of a barrow (now planted,) on the other side of the road.

Rickman1 has objected to an earlier date for Abury than one posterior to the Roman Conquest, "because it adjoins a Roman Road; because it resembles a Roman Amphitheatre; because its dimensions seem to be adjusted to the measure of a Roman mile; and lastly, because the engineer, who made the Roman Road, did not avail himself of the deep ditch round Silbury, to lessen the steepness of the ascent; whence we may conclude that such ditch was not in existence when the road was made. His attempts to support the second and third2 of these positions appear to be most unsatisfactory; and with respect to the first, it might be answered, that the Roman Road from Silchester to Bath was, in all probability, preceded by a British trackway, and that the point where the Ikneld road crossed such trackway, was well suited for the site of a great national temple; while the fact that the Roman engineers did not avail themselves of the lower level afforded them by the ditch might be owing to their unwillingness to wound the national prejudices by violating unnecessarily a national monument."3

Note 1. Archaologia, vol, xxviii.

Note 2. "The avenue which south east from the main temple, was intersected by the Roman road, and according to Rickman, the distance of Silbury both from the point of intersection and from the centre of Avebury circle, was a Roman mile. I can only say that according to my measurement, Silbury Hill is distant from the centre of the circle more than a Roman mile, and from the point of intersection very considerably less. But even were the measurement correct, how could the symmetry of the structure be any way dependant on the distance of Silbury from the point where the road cut through the avenue? The proper inference seem to be, that the Romans would not allow a great public road to be diverted out of its course, in order to spare the mere" adjuncts of a building, whose hold upon the respect and reverence of the people had probably been for some time declining." —Archeological Journal, vol. viii. p. 153.

Note 3. Archeological Journal 1851, p. 152. Dr. Guest's paper ''on the Belgic Ditches and the probable date of Stonehenge."

Barrows, Etc., In The Neighbourhood Of Abury

In perfect keeping with the genius loci [kind of place], are the numerous barrows which crown the hills and stud the plains which surround the village of Abury. On the Windmill, Overton, and Hakpen Hills, are several of various dimensions and elegant form. On the elevated ground between the Kennet Avenue and Silbury Hill, which in Stukeley's book is called Weedon Hill and Windmill Boll, were others, but the plough and cultivation have obliterated these, as well as many other interesting antiquities which were in existence at the time he wrote. Of several long barrows which he described, the most remarkable at the present time is that on the brow of the hill south of Silbury [West Kennet Long Barrow [Map]]. It is about 300 feet long and 35 feet wide, and is called the Long Barrow. At the east end are about 40 large sarsens (one of them is 11 feet long and 6 wide, another is 9 feet long, 7 broad, and 2 thick) lying confusedly one over the other. They doubtless originally formed achamber. A farmer cut a waggon drive through this barrow, some time ago, much to the annoyance of his landlord.1

Note 1. This barrow deserves a careful and thorough examination, and when the Wiltshire Archæological and Natural History Society hold their meeting at Marlborough, they would do well to turn their attention to it, and apply for permission to open it. Aubrey gives rude sketches of this and the Mill barrow.

Another long barrow [East Kennet Long Barrow [Map]], about a mile to the south east of the last, is now planted with trees. It was opened, a few years ago, by the Rev. Mr. Connor of East Kennet.

The Mill barrow at Monkton [Map], a mile or more north of Abury, and of which Stukeley gives an engraving, was 215 feet long and 55 broad, and was set round with great stones, the broad end east, the narrow west. Aubrey says, "The barrow is a yard high at least." It was levelled not many years ago. Dr. Merewether "saw the man who was employed in the profanation. It contained," he said, "a sort of room built up wi' big sarsens put together like, as well as a mason could set them; in the room was a sight of black stuff, and it did smill nation bad."

In a field about 300 yards west of Mill barrow was the large sarsen [Monkton Fields Long Barrow [Map]], upon the removal of which several skeletons were found a few years ago. Since this discovery (which is described in the Wiltshire Archeological Magazine, vol. i. p. 303,) several other sarsen stones have been taken up in the same field, with similar results. With one of these deposits were jet ornaments, objects of stone and pottery, including two drinking cups,now preserved in the Society's Museum at Devizes.

"In Monkton fields," says Aubrey (in his Monumenta Britannica), "is a long pitched stone seven foot and more; it leaneth eastward upon two stones. It is called Shelving stone."2 (Plate viii. fig. 1. and Stukeley's plate xxxvii.) This too has been removed within a few years.

Note 1. "A Kist-vaen certainly sepulchral," says Sir R, C. Hoare. This, however, may be doubted, as Mr. Hillier, of Monkton, last year examined the site of these stones, but found no traces of burnt bones, or of any thing to show that there had been an interment on the spot. It would be more correctly termed a Cromlech. It is shown in the foreground of the plate of Abury restored, given by Mr. Britton, 'Beauties of Wilts', vol. iii. 1825, p. 280; see p. 276, note.

In the district of the Sarsen Stones, which extends several mniles to the south and east of Abury, is situated the fine cromlech, called the “Devil's Den." It stands in Clatford Bottom at the termination of a stone-valley, which is the most extensive, (as that opposite to it, Lockeridge Dean, is the most picturesque,) of these remarkable combes. Within the memory of living men this cromlech formed a part of the valley of stones, but it is now grazed by the ploughshare, year by year. Stukeley has given three, and Sir R. Hoare two, engravings of it. Both appear to have regarded it as sepulchral.1

Note 1. There were probably two forms of the cromlech, the sepulchral and sacrificial. Whether this and the "Shelving stone" at Monkton were ever employed for the dreadful rites of sacrifice aud uugury from human victims, as practised by the Druids, cannot be asserted, though it is possible. "Nam cruore captivo adolere aras, et hominum fibris consulere deos, fas habebant,"—says the historian, of the British Druids. Tacitus, Ann. lib. xiv. e. 30. [For they had the right to sacrifice altars with the blood of captives, and to consult the gods with the bones of men].

Aubrey gives a sketch of an oblong stone lying across the top of two others, and at right angles with them. He says, "This monument is in the parish of Kynnet, where one Mr. Kinsman digging underneath, about 1643, found the skeleton of a man and a sword and dagger, as they report. In these parts are five or six such monuments. The stones are of a great length, at least ten or twelve foot, as I remember."1

Note 1. Monumenta Britannica. (This MS. was purchased by the Rey. Dr. Bandinel, for the Bodleian Library, of Colonel Greville, in 1836.)

"At Winterbourne Basset, (about three miles) north of Abury, a field north west of the church, upon elevated ground, is a double circle of stones, concentric, 60 cubits diameter. The two circles are near one another, so that one may walk between. Many of the stones have of late been carried away. West of it is a single, broad, flat, and high stone, standing by itself; and about as far northward from the circle, in a ploughed field, is a barrow set round with, or rather composed of large stones."1 "By the above description, I was enabled," says Sir R. Hoare, "to find the remains of this circle, which is situated in a pasture ground at the angle of a road leading to Broad Hinton, and consists at present only of a few inconsiderable stones."2

Note 1. Stukeley's Abury, p. 45.

Note 2. Hoare's Ancient Wiltshire, ii. p. 95.

1840. In the dip of the hill between the Kennet avenue anda slight oblong earthwork on the slope of Hakpen Hill,1 a solitary stone is standing. Mr. Falkner of Devizes, has fayored me with the following account of his observations in connection with it. "The stone which you saw in a field on the left, when you went along the avenue towards Kennet, was seen by me in 1840. I went to it, and found it was one of a circle [Falkner's Circle [Map]] that had existed at some former period. There were two other stones lying on the ground, and nine hollow places, from which stones had been removed, making twelve altogether. I made a note of it at the time, and the person with whom I was riding observed it also. The circle was then in a meadow, which was broken up a few years afterwards, and two of the stones removed. The circle was 2824 yards from the nearest part of the avenue. I could not have been mistaken as to the fact of a circle being there, and considered the discovery of sufficient importance to write to the Rev. E. Duke on the subject, who was not aware of what I told him, nor could he explain the matter at all,—only suggesting that the stones might have been set round a large tumulus,—but the ground was quite flat within the circle, which was about 120 feet in diameter."

Note 1. I use the words "Hakpen Hill" because this hill is so designated in the plan, but the Hakpen Hill, properly so called, does not extend so far to the south, or beyond the road leading from Abury to Rockley. See Ordnance Map.

"In a lane leading from Kennet to Marlborough," says Aubrey, "are eight huge large stones in a circle, which never could be by chance, and besides they are rudely hewen." (Plate iii. fig.2.) It was probably this circle which Stukeley has described in his 'Itinerarium Curiosum' (part I. page 132). "Over against Clatford at a flexure of the river, we meet with several very great stones, about a dozen in number, which probably was a Celtic temple, and stood in a circle; this form in a great measure they still preserve."

In Sir Richard Hoare's second volume of 'Ancient Wiltshire,' in Dean Merewether's paper in the Salisbury volume of the Archeological Institute, and in the 'Crania Britannica,' by Mr. Davis and Dr. Thurnam, may be found very interesting accounts of the examination of barrows in the vicinity of Abury. Sir Richard Hoare thus describes the conclusion he arrived at, from the investigations carried on under his superintendence: “The result of these underground researches will prove to us the very high antiquity of the tumuli raised on this conspicuous eminence (Overton Hill); and at the same time the poverty of those Britons over whose ashes these sepulchral mounds were elevated. We find no costly ornaments of jet, amber, or gold, but very simple articles of brass and vessels of the coarsest pottery. Cremation seems to have prevailed, except in one instance, where the post of honour, adjoining the sacred circle, might possibly have been reserved for the chieftain of the clan that inhabited these downs.'1 Again, “In my late researches near Abury, I had the satisfaction to substantiate the conjectures I had previously formed, respecting the nature and contents of the barrows in this district. I had ever considered the stone circle at Abury to be of a much older date than that of Stonehenge; and in the same light I had always considered the tumuli. These conjectures have been corroborated by our late researches; for although we find the same modes of interment adopted here, as in South Wiltshire, yet we have found none of those costly articles which have so often rewarded our labours in the southern district of our county."2 “The absence of costly ornaments of amber and gold, in the barrows of this district, as distinguishing them from those near Stonehenge," says Dr. Thurnam, “is borne out by all the more recent excavations of these tumuli. The immigrant tribe of Belgz were doubtless more wealthy than the aboriginal Dobuni of North Wilts, and also kept up a more intimate traffic with Gaul."3

Note 1. Ancient Wiltshire, ii. p. 91. This barrow is no doubt the more southerly of the two shown in Aubrey's sketch (plate iii. fig 1), The other, as Dr. Stukeley tells us, was levelled in 1720; "a man's bones were found within a bed of great stones, forming a kind of arch. Several beads of amber, long and round, as big as one's thumb end, were taken from it, and several enamel'd British beads of glass: I got some of them white in colour, some were green." This seems to have been the solitary exception to the absence of amber in these barrows.

Note 2. Ancient Wiltshire, ii. p. 93.

Note 3. "Crania Britannica," "Description of Skull from Barrow at Kennet," p. 5, The writer is indebted to Dr. Thurnam for much valuable assistance in the compilation of the present paper.

These mute memorials of a remote age, over which, without impairing them, the seasons have for centuries rolled their uninterrupted course, and to which we are indebted for such glimpses as we have been able to catch, of the arts and customs of our British ancestors, are full of interest to the thoughtful mind. They carry it back to a time when the now deserted downs and lofty hills were thickly-peopled tracts, when the wattled hut was the habitation, when cattle were the riches, and the worship of the heavenly bodies1 the religion, of the Britons. How do they not bridge over the interval between the present and a past long anterior to Saxons, Danes, and Romans; and in their presence, what recent events do the Great Rebellion, the Wars of the Roses, and the Norman Invasion appear to be! The knowledge, too, that they were raised over the bodies or ashes of some great ones of their day tends to increase the mystery and awe with which they are invested. It is to be wished that they might be spared further disfigurement from the furrow and the plantation. There is one cluster which from their elegant forms and elevated position, are strikingly beautiful, especially when seen against the horizon in the evening twilight; and for the preservation of which I would earnestly plead. They compose the group alluded to by Sir R. Hoare, in one of the previous extracts, and are situated upon Overton Hill, near the Roman road and the turnpike road to Marlborough.2 The barrow which adjoins the site of the 'Sanctuary,' to which we have already alluded, and from which Dr. Thurnam, in 1854, obtained the fine skull which has been figured and described in the 'Crania Britannica,' has this year been divested of its turf for the sake of the ashes. The same process of excoriation has been extensively carried on, during the last few months, upon the Down between Beckhampton and Shepherd's Shore, and it seems likely that every year will show a further contraction of our open downs. Might not the owners and occupiers of land be induced to plough round the barrows and leave their surface intact? In many instances, I doubt not, they have been found as unproductive as that upon which the Cromlech in Clatford Bottom, called the 'Devil's Den,' was erected; and, for a few stalks of corn or a dozen turnips annually, it is a pity to obliterate or degrade these interesting traces of Britain's earliest inhabitants.2 At all events, it deserves the consideration of the members of this Society whether they should not map the barrows which remain, and collect for those who come after us what information has been or may be procured respecting the examination and contents of those which have been opened.

Note 1. "The circle of the stars" and "the lights of heaven." — See Wisdom of Solomon, xiii, 2.

Note 2. In this group is a beautiful example of the triple barrow. There is another at Shepherd's Shore [Map].

Note 3. "It is not to be desired that the ancient barrows belonging to the times of paganism, should be.... removed. It is true they occur, in certain parts of the country, in such numbers as to offer serious impediments to agriculture; while they contain beside large masses of stone, which in many cases might be used with advantage. Still they deserve to be protected and preserved, in as great a number as possible. They are national memorials, which may be said to cover the ashes of our forefathers; and by this means constitute a national possession, which has been handed down for centuries, from race to race. Would we then unconcernedly destroy these venerable remains of ancient times, without any regard to our posterity? Would we disturb the peace of the dead, for the sake of some trifling gain." —Primeyal Antiquities of Denmark, by J. J. A. Worsaae, 1849, p. 153.

Theories Respecting The Object For Which The Temple Was Constructed.

The object for which the great work at Abury was constructed will probably ever be involved in mystery. We know so little of the Druids and their forms of worship, that to more than conjectural approximations to the truth we can hardly hope to attain. An astronomical, a civil, and a religious purpose have each had their advocates. The erection, too, of circular temples, like this and Stonehenge, has been assigned by different writers to different nations; to the Pheenicians, the ancient Britons, the Romans, the Saxons, and the Danes. There can, however, be little doubt that the temple at Abury dates from a period long anterior to the Roman connection with Britain, and that it was a much older work than Stonehenge. “T think we may fairly conclude," says Dr. Guest, “ that Stonehenge is of later date than Avebury and the other structures of unwrought stone; that it could not have been built much later than the year 100 3.c., and in all probability was not built more than a century or two earlier. As to the antiquity of Avebury, I dare offer no conjecture. If the reader be more venturesome, and should fix its erection some eight or ten centuries before our era, it would be difficult to advance any critical reasons against his hypothesis."1 “The Rey. Richard Warner was the first," says Mr. Bowles,2 “who started the idea,—in my opinion a most happy one, that the Belg, having taken this (the southern) part of the country from the Celts as far as Wansdyke, raised this monument of Stonehenge in rival magnificence to that of Abury." Dr. Guest writes, "It will be seen that the Wansdike bends to the south, as if to avoid Avebury, and approaches close to it, but does not include Bath. It seems reasonable to infer that when the line of demarcation was drawn, the Dobuni insisted on the retention of their ancient temple and of their hot baths; and if this inference be a just one, another and a more important one seems naturally to follow. Assuming that the Belge were thus excluded from Avebury, is it not likely that they would provide a “locus consecratus" at some central point within their own border—a place for their judicial assemblies, like the Gaulish temple, “in finibus Carnutum, que regio totius Gallize media habetur?" May not Stonehenge have been the substitute so provided?"3

Note 1. Archeological Journal, 1851, p. 157.

Note 2. Hermes Britannicus, 1828, p. 123.

Note 3. Archeological Journal, 1851, p. 152.

It would be wearisome to give an account of all the theories which have been propounded respecting the temple of Abury, and the objects for which it was constructed. I will briefly notice a few which seem most deserving of attention, premising that while I can quite understand the devotion of the enormous amount of human labour, requisite for the removal from a considerable distance and the setting up of the stones of Abury, and for the heaping together of Silbury Hill, to a religious purpose, I cannot believe that for any object less influential and absorbing, so vast an amount of human power could ever have been brought to bear.

Dr. Stukeley makes the foundation of Abury to date from the year of the death of Sarah, Abraham's wife, 1859 B.C.! He says, “By the best light I can obtain, I judge our Tyrian Hercules made his expedition into the ocean, about the latter end of Abraham's time: and most likely 'tis, that Abury was the first great temple of Britain, and made by the first Phcenician colony that came hither; and they made it in this very place on account of the stones of the grey-weathers, so commodious for their purpose."1 The ancient Druids, says Stukeley, were not idolators, but “in effect Christians."! 'This I verily believe to have been a truly patriarchal temple, as the rest likewise, which we have here described; and where the worship of the true God was performed.''2'The plan on which Abury is built, is that sacred hierogram of the Egyptians, and other ancient nations, the circle, snake and wings. By this they meant to picture out, as well as they could, the nature of the divinity. The circle meant the supreme fountain of all being, the father; the serpent, that divine emanation from him which was called the son; the wings imputed that other divine emanation from them which was called the spirit, the anima mundi." 'The serpent,' says Maximus of Tyre, (Dissert. 38,) 'was the great symbol of the deity to most nations, and as such was worshipped by the Indians.' The temples of old made in the form of a serpent, were called, for that reason, Dracontia."3

Note 1. Stukeley's Abury, p. 53.

Note 2. Ib. p. 102.

Note 3. Stukeley's Abury, pp. 54, 55. Mr. P. Crocker, who surveyed Abury for Sir R. Hoare, in 1812, considered the Dracontian theory a probable one; although he could not say that all the distances between the stones, the diameters of the circles, and the precise measurements, as given by Stukeley, were exact, or that they were constructed with geometrical precision." See Britton's Beauties of Wilts,' iii. p. 284.

The Rev. William Cooke, Vicar of Enford, in Wilts, in 'An enquiry into the Patriarchal and Druidical Religion, Temples, &c., wherein the Primeval Institution and Universality of the Christian scheme is manifested, &c.,' (2nd edition, 1755,) endeavours to prove that Abury “was really a temple sacred to the ever-blessed and undivided Trinity"! This book is little more than a brief epitome of Stukeley's. Mr. Cooke appears to have been the first to suggest the derivation of the word 'Abury' from 'Cabiri.'? In this strange etymology he was followed by Higgins, ('Celtic Druids," 1827,) Bowles and Duke.1

Note 1. Sir R. Hoare noticed this derivation, and supported it by a quotation from the learned Parkhurst; 'that the Phoenicians or Canaanites worshipped their God, the heavens, under this name, is highly probable, from the plain remains of a Phoenician temple at Abury in Wiltshire, which still retains the name."— 'Ancient Wiltshire,' ii. p. 63, note.

Mr. Edward King, in his ‘ Munimenta Antiqua,’ considers “that the great stone pillar in the centre of the southernmost double circle seems to intimate that the area there enclosed was designed for holding great councils, and for inaugurations; whilst the cromlech and great altar, in the centre of the northern double circle, indicates that enclosure to have been designed for sacrifices. And the great circle of an hundred stones, and the vast ditch and rampart surrounding the whole vast area, in which both these solemn places stood, indicates a boundary of that awful regard that was paid to them."1

Note 1. Munimenta Antiqua, 1799, vol. i. p. 202.

The Rey. Wm. Lisle Bowles in his ‘ Hermes Britannicus,’ 1828, argues for the dedication of the temple at Abury, to the worship of the Celtic deity Teutates or Mercury. He says,... “I should thus designate the intent and character of the whole work at Abury. The vast pile, in the first place, I consider as sacred to that great instructor, symbolised and worshipped in Egypt, who unfolded the heavens, and brought intelligence of one infinite god, and of eternal life to man: which knowledge, in remote ages, was communicated to the Celtic Druids by the Pheenicians. The inner circles, represent, severally, the months, the year, the days, and the hours, included in the great circle of eternity, representing the god over the heavens, stretching on each side in the form of the ‘serpent,’ the well known emblem, both of the course of the stars and of restoration and immortality; whilst, if we admit the single stone within one of the circles as the gnomon of a vast dial, according to Maurice,1 the shadow of passing life is siill more obvious. Exactly in the middle, (¢.e. on Silbury Hill, p. 21, &c., and seg.) and upon a line with the two extremities of the serpent’s body, and opposite the great circle, in front, stood, according to my conjecture, whether right or wrong, the simudacrum, such as those of which Cesar speaks—the simulacrum of that sublime Teacher who will appear hereafter as the awakener and restorer of the dead, now sleeping, each in his silent grassy heap, at his feet; whilst he, pointing to the tracks over the waste and wildering downs, stands thus to be considered also as the guide of the darkling travellers along the ways of life, and the AWAKENER and RESTORER of the dead, when the various ways of that life shall end in the forgotten dust of the barrow or the tomb; such is the moral lesson taught by this mysterious monument, the dark adumbration of the only hope of the Celtic Briton, who, before the light of revelation or civilization dawned, traversed these solitary plains.

Note 1. Rey. T. Maurice. Indian Antiquities, 1801, vol. vi. p. 118. In his "Dissertation," in this work, "On the Indian origin of the Druids," Mr. Maurice appears to have been the first to insist on the astronomical significance of the numbers of the stones in the circles, &c., at Abury, and in other megalithic monuments; a view which, by such writers as Higgins and Duke, has been so greatly abused.

“The Pheenicians brought the knowledge of this personage to Britain; this personage, as described by the Pheenicians, was the great instructor; the greatest instructor became the greatest deity, and the temple at Abury records the truth respecting the sole Deity which he taught. On the mound in front, stood the image or simulacrum of the great deified teacher of this truth; and this most magnificent Celtic Temple stood as emblematical of the One God, having in front the image of him who was the greatest of the subordinate popular Celtic deities, who instructed the Phcenicians in the knowledge of this one God, and which they, with all the mysterious discipline of Druidism, taught to the British Celts; and that Silbury-hill was the mound of Mercury; and Abury the greatest Celtic temple, sacred to him, and emblematical both of the knowledge he taught and the God he revealed."1

Note 1. Hermes Britannicus, pp. 63, 64, 65. See also Parochial History of Bremhill, by the same writer, 1827.

“The worship of the serpent" says Mr. Bathurst Deane, “may be traced in almost every religion through ancient Asia, Europe, Africa, and America. The progress of the sacred serpent from Paradise to Peru is one of the most remarkable phenomena in mythological history, and to be accounted for only upon the supposition that a corrupted tradition of the serpent in Paradise had been handed down from generation to generation." Other temples supposed to have been dedicated to this kind of worship are to be seen at Carnac in Brittany, at Stanton Drew in Somersetshire, on Dartmoor, and at Shap [Map] in Westmoreland.1 In the time of Dr. Stukeley, the country people of the neighbourhood had a tradition that “no snakes could live within the circle of Abury." This notion may have descended from the times of the Druids, through a very natural superstition that the unhallowed reptile was divinely restrained from entering the Sanctuary, through which the mystic serpent passed. There have been found at Abury, the usual Druidical relics of celts, anguina, etc.; and a proof that this was once a temple of very great resort is afforded by the immense quantities of burnt bones, horns of oxen, and charcoal which have been discovered in the agger of the vallum. These are indications of great sacrifices.... The temple was the ophite hierogram, the priests were Druids, whose religion recognized the sun as a deity and the serpent as a sacred emblem; the name of that mystic serpent" (in the Hebrew) “ was Aub, and a title of the solar deity, Aur or Ur: the whole temple represented the union of the serpentine with the circular sanctuaries, that is of the ophite and solar superstition. What name then could be more expressive than Aubur or Abur, the ‘ Serpent of the Sun’?"2 Silbury Hill, supposed by Stukeley to be the sepulchral monument of the founder of Abury, “is doubtless," says Mr. Deane, “‘a mound dedicated to the solar deity, like the Pyramids of ancient Greece and Egypt; and corresponds with the OrHettin of classical mythology, and the Mont St. Michel, of Carnac. In connection with the Serpent temple, it identifies the whole structure as sacred to the deity known by the Greeks as Apollo. Its very name imports ‘the hill of the Sun.'"3

Note 1. In the Gentleman’s Magazine for October, 1844, is a sketch of the circle of stones at Shap [Map]. It was then threatened with destruction, by a railway which was to pass over it. The avenue there is supposed to have almost rivalled those at Carnac, in length.

Note 2. Deane "on the Worship of the Serpent," pp. 32, 382, 383, 2nd edition, 1833.

Note 3. Ib. 2 p. 379.

The Rey. Edward Duke, says, “My hypothesis then is as follows: that our ingenious ancestors portrayed on the Wiltshire Down, asa Planetarium or stationary orrery, located on a meridional line, extending north and south, the length of sixteen miles; that the planetary temples thus located, seven in number, will, if put in motion, be supposed to revolve around Silbury Hill, as the centre of this grand astronomical scheme; that thus Saturn, the extreme planet to the south, would in his orbit describe a circle with a diameter of thirty two miles; that four of the planetary temples were constructed of stone, those of Venus (the circles of stones at Winterbourne Basset), the Sun (the southern circle at Abury), the Moon (the northern circle at Abury), and Saturn (the circle at Stonehenge); and the remaining three of earth, those of Mercury (at Walker’s Hill), Mars (at Marden), and Jupiter (Casterly Camp), resembling the ‘hill altars" of Holy Scripture; that the Moon is represented as the Satellite of the Sun, and passing round him in an epicycle, is thus supposed to make her monthly revolution, while the Sun himself pursues his annual course in the first and nearest concentric orbit, and is thus successively surrounded by those also of the planets Venus, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn; that these planetary temples were all located at due distances from each other; that the relative proportions of those distances correspond with those of the present received system; and that, in three instances, the site of these temples bear in their names at this day plain and indubitable record of their primitive dedication. Now, further, as to the four temples constructed of stone, I shall be able to shew that they consisted of a certain definite number of stones, and by an analysis of their details I shall show, that these details are resolvable into every known astronomical cycle of antiquity, whilst the other appendages attached to, but not forming component parts of three of such temples, are resolvable only into numerical cycles; and that these planetary temples taken synthetically, and as a whole, were intended to represent the magnus annus, the great year of Plato, the eycle of cycles, when the planets, some revolving faster, some slower in their several courses, would all simultaneously arrive at the several points from whence they originally started, and that then the old world would end and a new world spring into being."1

Note 1. ‘Druidical Temples of the County of Wilts,’ 1846, pp. 6, 7, 8, 186, et seq.

In connexion with this system, he considers that Silbury Hill represented the Earth; the serpent, ranging from east to west of Silbury Hill, and embowed to the north, represented the northern portion of the ecliptic; and that the temples on that ecliptic represented the Sun, and the Moon, as his satellite, revolving around him. He considers the 30 stones of which each of the two circles was composed to have represented the cycle of the days of the month; the inner circle of 12 stones the cycle of the months of the year; the single stone in the Temple of the Sun, the cycle of the entire year; and the three stones in the interior of the temple of the Moon, the cycle of the seasons; of which earlier nations than the Greeks and Romans reckoned only three of four months each, viz., spring, summer, and winter. The stone which Stukeley called the ‘Ring’ Stone and considered to be that to which the victim about to be slain was fastened, Mr. Duke pronounces to have been a gnomon; and the name Abury to be a corruption of the word “Abiri," (Cabiri) signifying in Hebrew “the mighty ones," in allusion to the two temples as the representatives of the sun and the moon, the two chief deities in the Sabzean or planetary worship.1

Note 1. "Druidical Temples of Wilts,’ pp. 59, 60, 188. See, on Mr. Duke’s theory, the Christian Remembrancer, vol. xii. 1846. One cannot but remark, how much the disposition to theorize about Abury would haye been checked, by the publication of Aubrey’s plans by Sir R. Hoare.

Mr. Herbert,1 in his learned work, ‘Cyclops Christianus’ (1849), expresses his belief that the Stonehenges, Aveburies, Carnacs, ete., did not exist in Britain or Gaul when Cesar, Strabo, Diodorus, Mela, Pliny, and Tacitus wrote, otherwise these writers would have certainly made mention of them; but that groves of upright stones were substituted by the later Britons for the oak tree groves of obsolete Druidism. He treats the ““Dracontian" theory with great scorn, and says, “ When the case of Avebury is divested of lies and forgeries, I see nothing in it but great circles and avenues, with some reason for thinking that groves and woodland walks were typified by them, none for supposing the form of a snake was expressed." He continues, “It would be no reasonable supposition, that the same people should at one time have venerated their oaken groves with that zeal and love, of which the name has become so famous, and also have expended energies immensely great to repeat and imitate in lifeless stone the living symbol of their system; for substitutes are seldom used concurrently with their prototypes. It follows that they did so at a different time, and under altered circumstances, and, we should add, in altered localities. For their solemn rites were then called out of the woods, in which their wooden idols stood, in which their sacrifices were performed, and of which the sacred trees were aspersed with the piacular blood, and came to be celebrated in the most open and champaign places that could be chosen, and where the circles or avenues would stand most conspicuous. These plains had anciently been unadapted to Druidism, but were peculiarly suited to the construction of sepulchral tumuli; by which it is consequently found that the greatest cors (such as the Stonehenge and the Rollrich) are surrounded."2

Note 1. The Honble. Algernon Herbert, who was a member of the noble house of Carnarvon, was born 1792, was placed in the 1st class in Lit. Hum. in the year 1813, became a Fellow of Merton College, and was called to the bar. He died in June 1855. A short notice of him appeared in the Gentleman’s Magazine for December, 1855.

Note 2. pp. 108, 109. See a paper on the ‘ Cyclops Christianus,’ attributed to the Rey. J B. Deane, in the Gentleman’s Magazine, 1849, vol. xxxii, N. 8.; also an article in the Quarterly Review, vol. xci. In the former, the claim of Abury to be considered the circular temple of the Hyperboreans named by Hecatieus of Abdera (Diod. Sic, ii. 47), and even the winged temple of the same mythic people, the vads 6 mepwos of Eratosthenes, is vindicated.

Such are some of the many theories which have been propounded respecting the object of the founders of Abury. “Men of the greatest learning, and most subtle intellect have felt the difficulty, as well as importance of the sub ect: it has been acknowledged by hundreds, who have started, full of energy, in the pursuit of their true history, and have in the end wisely kept silence..... And Stonehenge and Abury continue as before,—apparently incapable of explanation: still inexpressibly, awfully majestic, in the now feebleness, so to say, of their abused remains; fragments, rather than ruins; shadows of skeletons, rather than presenting to the common observer even a rude outline of their original structure; exciting a solemn veneration; raising up question after question, theory upon theory; and still the same now as yesterday,—falling back into the dark obscurity of a hundred generations."1

Note 1. Christian Remembrancer, vol. xii. 1846.

Ecciestastical History Of Abury In Connection With Its Antiquities.

For the following notice of the ecclesiastical history of Abury, and its connection with the preservation of the antiquities of the place, I am indebted to Mr. Hunter’s paper before referred to.1 “Before the Norman Conquest a Christian church was erected, a little without the mound, on the western side. There is nothing to show when it was erected, but it is mentioned as existing in Domesday Book.2 It is worthy of notice that the church was not erected within the enclosure, which would seem to have been its natural position: and perhaps it may be inferred from that cireumstance, that the persons who erected the church did not contemplate the destruction of the fabric of the older temple, and intend to raise the Christian edifice on the ruins of one which had (probably) been used in Pagan superstitions. Some portions of the fabric of the present church appear to have belonged to the original edifice, proving that the present church is on the site originally chosen by Saxon piety. Another circumstance worthy of notice in the Domesday account of Abury is, that it was Terra Regis, and that the only land in cultivation about it was two hides attached to the church, which was held by one Rainbold the Priest. He had the church of Pewsey also. But at Pewsey we find there was a lay-manor also, while no other manor is noticed at Abury, but that of the church held immediately of the King. There was probably some reason why. the crown reserved its rights here; and that there was no manor but the manor of the church, may I think be taken as proof of a very early foundation of a Saxon church here, and that the erection of a church preceded the erection of any dwellings. Perhaps at the beginning it was a Feld-cype (field-church), intended for the use of the shepherds and the few inhabitants dispersed over the plain from the borders of Bishops Cannings to the borders of Marlborough, and to a great extent to the northward and southward. It must have been erected by some person of eminent rank, perhaps a Saxon sovereign, and not merely (as some of the country churches were) by some lord of the soil living there, that he might have the offices of religion brought home to the doors of himself and his vassals.

Note 1. Gentleman’s Magazine, July, 1829.

Note 2. In the list of the "King’s Lands." "Rainbold a priest holds the church of Avreberie, to which belong two hides. It is worth 40 shillings,"—Wyndham’s Wilts Domesday, p. 51.

“ Abury remained a place peculiarly ecclesiastical till the Reformation. Rainbold doubtless held his two hides here only in right of his church, and they would descend not to his heirs but to his successors. A foreign house, the Benedictines of St. George of Bocherville, was placed in the reign of Henry I. in the position in which Rainbold stood. The gift of the church was by William de Tankervile, a person to whom the Crown must have conveyed its right soon after the date of Domesday, and of whom it may be conjectured that he had never any intention of changing the ecelesiastical character of Abury. The foreign house retained possession of Abury till the time of Richard II., in which reign many of the foreign houses were deprived of their English possessions. The patronage and protection of Abury and its curious remains were then committed, first to New College, Oxford, and then to the College of Fotheringay: and it was not till the 2 Edward VI. that any private person had power over this temple to pull down and destroy.1

Note 1. These observations relate to the Rectorial estate and manor. The patronage of the Vicarage of Abury was in the gift of the Abbots of St. Mary’s, Cirencester, from 1297 to 1538 (see Wilts Institutions); and since the Dissolution, in the Crown. ‘The place still gives its name to the Deanery of Abury.

“Tn the interval between the Conquest and the Reformation, the temple at Abury being under the protection of these communities, perhaps suffered but little from dilapidation. If any Court Rolls1 of the ecclesiastical manor now exist, they should be carefully examined; and I make no doubt that much interesting matter might be collected from them. If they contained no notices of grants to the tenants of portions of the stones, or of land within the area, they would at least show the number of freeholders, and perhaps of other tenants, and a guess might be made at the population which had collected round the church in the middle ages of our history. I suspect that it was very small, and that the extension of the village within the bounds of the enclosure has been the work of the three last centuries. It is manifest that many of the houses are recent erections: some of them are certainly on new sites, and even those which are supposed to be re-edifications, may be on sites not more than two or three centuries old."2

Note 1. The following extract from the late Mr. Kemble’s "Notices of Heathen Interment in the Codex Diplomaticus," printed in the Archeological Journal, No. 54, is inserted here, although it has no reference to the period mentioned in the text.

"The Anglo-Saxon boundaries then, do very frequently run to the old grey stone, or hoary stone or stones, and among these it is reasonable to believe that sometimes cromlechs or stone-rings were intended. There is one case of considerable interest, and I will request your particular attention to it, because it contains the clearest possible allusion to the great stones at Avebury, and besides furnishes a singularly interesting example of the accuracy with which the lines of boundaries may, even to this day be followed. It oceurs in Cod. Dip. 1120, (one of Athelstan’s charters. A.D. 939,) and is the limitation of the territory of Overton, a little village in Wiltshire, near the Kennet. The Saxon estate comprises very nearly what is now known as Overton town. The words are as follows:—

"'These are the bounds of Overton. From Kennet to the Elder tree; thence to Wódens den; thence to the wood on the main road; thence upon Horseley up to Wansdyke upon Tytfer’s road; thence upon the hedge of Willow mere (or Withy mere) eastward by south round about to Æðelferðe’s dwelling on the stony road; thence to the narrow meadow; then through Shothanger along the road to the rising ground, or link; thence to the west head; then northward over the down to the right boundary; then to the town or enclosure; thence to Kennet at the Saltham; from the Saltham up between the two barrows; from them to the furlong’s west head; thence to Scrows pit; thence to the Pancroundel, in the middle; then by Coltas barrow as far as the broad road to Hakpen; then along the road on the dike to the south of Æðelferðe’s stone; then south along the Ridgeway to the dun stone; then south-west over the ploughed land to Piggle dean; then up to Lambpath, southward up to the link, to the hollow way; then back again to Kennet. Now this is the boundary of the pastures and the down land at Mapplederlea, westward. Thence northward up along the stone row, thence to the burial places ("byrgelsas"’); then south along the road; from the road along the link to the south head; thence down upon the slade; thence up along the road, back again to Mapplederlea.’

"I do not know whether there is any place called Maple Durley in the neighbourhood, but nothing can be more accurate than the boundary which takes in nearly the whole of Overton town, extending, however, at first southward from the river Kennet, at East Kennet, to the Wansdyke; re-ascending on the east by a road still very remarkable for the great stone blocks which lie aboutit, till crossing the river again it runs northward up towards Hackpen Hill, then turns westward and southward in the direction of Avebury, and declining again to the south, crosses the little spot then called Pyttelden, now Piggledean, and returns to where it commenced at the corner of Hast Kennet. The stone row here is no doubt the great avenue. Hackpen or Haca’s pen enclosure, &c., is the wellknown stone ring; what the byrgelsas are, it is, of course now, impossible to identify; it may have been some particular set of barrows, but itmay, I think, very possibly have been Avebury circle itself." It may be questioned whether Mr. J. M. Kemble was able to give the requisite attention for the identification of the different localities specified in this charter; and he will not carry many readers with him in his assertion that Hackpen means the circle itself. With perhaps somewhat unjust sarcasm, he concludes:

The avenue you see, which my friends the Ophites consider so mysterious, was only a common stone row, and the ‘temple’ itself of the snake, the sun, the Helio-Arkite cult, the mystic zodiac, and a number of other very fine things —so fine that one cannot understand them—is very probably, in the eyes of this dull dog of a surveyor, only a burial place. As for the stone ring, it was only Haca’s pen or enclosure, though I dare say Haca himself was some mythical personage whom I have not been able to identify.... The Anglo-Saxon did not know that Hac in Hebrew meant a serpent, and Pen in Welsh a head; and would hardly have been ingenious enough to fancy that one word could be made up of two parts derived from two different languages! though he rayed about snakes, he does not seem to have raised his mind to the contemplation of Dracontia. And he was quite right. Would that some of his successors had been as little led away by their fancy!"

Note 2. Unlike Stonehenge, which has been so often celebrated in song, Abury has been, as far as the writer is aware, the subject of only two poetical effusions. One entitled "The Old Serpentine Temple of the Druids at Avebury, in North Wilts, a Poem," printed at Marlborough in 1795, was the composition of the Rey. Charles Lucas, A.M., when he was curate of Avebury. Mr. Lucas was for many years curate at Devizes, and died there in 1854, aged 85. He was also the author of "Joseph," a poem, in two volumes 8vo. He was a man of fortune, and never held any church preferment. His poem on Abury extended to 29 pages, and is a versification of Stukeley’s description. Another is a MS. poem by the Rey. John Skinner, the Somersetshire antiquary, and Rector of Camerton, entitled "Beth Pennard, or the British Chieftain’s Grave," It was written "to commemorate the opening of an ancient British barrow near the village of Abury, on the Wiltshire Downs by Sir Richard C. Hoare," Aug. 11, 1814. Within the barrow at a foot and a half below the surface was a perfect skeleton and a clay cup, as described in Hoare’s ‘Ancient Wilts,’ vol. ii. pp. 92, 93. The Rey. J. Douglas, author of the "Nenia Britannica," urged Mr. Skinner to publish it. A copy of this poem is in the Library of the Royal Literary and Scientific Institution at Bath; andin the same MS. volume are copies of a very interesting correspondence between Mr. Skinner and Mr. Douglas on various antiquarian subjects. The letters in which Mr, Skinner describes the results of his examination of the Mendip barrows and of the Wellow tumulus should, at all events, be printed in the Journal of the Somersetshire Archeological and Natural History Society,

In the foregoing sketch, I have endeavoured to give to those who are unacquainted with Abury, an idea of the remarkable works of man which it contained, and which, although little known even in our own country, would have formed, had they remained entire, one of the Wonders of the World. I would urge all who have not done so, to visit them, and they will find that Stukeley said truly, “that the pleasure arising from them is in being on the spot and treading the agreeable downy turf, crowded with those antiquities, where health to the body and amusement to the mind are mingled so effectually together." And not only will amusement be afforded to the mind, but the sight of this wonderful ruin will open to the intelligent visitor a mine of profitable subjects for study and investigation. Let him not omit to view the Church, with its Norman doorway and font, and the interesting remnant of the roodloft. The lime-tree avenue at the rear of the picturesque manor-house, should not be neglected; and I think he will return home with the conviction that it would be difficult to find in England a more interesting spot than the village of Abury.

One word in conclusion to the landowners and tenants at Abury. I am sure that I am uttering the sentiments, not only of every English, but of every European antiquary, when I entreat them religiously to spare the few stones that remain. Sir Richard Hoare finished his account of Abury (as Stukeley did the 5th chapter of his book,) with the following lines, from one of the Triopian inscriptions.

"Ne cuiquam glebam, saxumve impunè movere

Ulli sit licitum. Parcarum namque severæ

Pœnæ instant: si quis sacra scelus edat in æde.

Finitimi agricolæ, et vicini attendite cuncti!

Hic fundus sacer est."

I will bring my paper to a close, with a free translation by my friend, the Rev. F. Kilvert:

"Let no rude hand disturb this hallowed sod,

Or move stones sacred to the Briton’s god—

Avenging spirits o’er the place preside,

And bold profaners evil will betide.

Sons of the soil,—with faithful watch and ward

This holy precinct be it your’s to guard."

Wessex from the Air Plate 36. Literary References

John Aubrey, Mon. Brit. (Bodleian Library, Oxford); plan of Avebury made 1663; reproduced in facsimile in W.A.M., vol. vii.

Willaim Stukeley, Abury, a temple of the British Druids, 1743.

William Long, ‘Abury Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine, vol. iv (January 1858), pp. 309-63. (This is by far thebest existing account of Avebury.)

Facsimiles of Aubrey’s plans of Avebury, and corrigenda of preceding paper; W.A.M. vii (December 1861) ,pp, 224—6.

The Rev, A, C. Smith, 'Excavations at Avebury W,A.M, x (January 1867), pp. 209-16. (An account of excavations made there by Mr. Smith, associated with Messrs. W. G. Lukis, W. Cunnington, and King, 29th September to 5th October 1865. Excavations were made in the Northern Inner Circle, near and also within the Cove itself, in the mound or embankment to the south-east, in the Southern Circle, and through the Great Outer Bank.)

William Long, 'Abury Notes’, W.A.M. xvii (March 1878), pp. 327-35. (Valuable notes on lost, buried, or destroyed stones in the circles and avenues, especially the Kennet Avenue.)

The Rev. Bryan King, Vicar of Avebury, ‘Avebury— The Beckhampton Avenue’, W.A.M. xviii (November 1879), pp.  377-83. (A vigorous defence of the Beckhampton Avenue, supported by evidence.)

Mrs. M. E. Cunnington, ‘The Re-erection of two fallen stones, and discovery of an interment with drinking-cup (beaker) at Avebury’, W.A.M. xxxviii (June 1913), pp. 1-11.

‘A buried stone in the Kennet Avenue’, W.A.M. xxxviii (June 1913), pp. 12—14.

H. St. George Gray, Reports on Excavations at Avebury; published in the Reports of the British Association for the years 1908 (401-11), 1909 (271-84), 1911 (141-52), 1915 (174-89), 1922 (326-33).