September 15th, 2014

Will Self offered his observations here on 21 June 2014, of  the 'museumification' of Stonehenge by the current custodians / gatekeepers, arising from  the demands of modern day visitors and mammon. The charming photograph above, in the context of the history of Stonehenge was taken in recent times, and represents a Stonehenge  as much lost to us now as the Stonehenge of Neolithic times. I have been informed by the Bradbury family who have kindly allowed me to publish the photograph above , that it was captured in 1929. A work colleague recently informed me, his mother and her cousins  used to clamber freely over the stones while  accompanying her father, who worked  as a shepherd in the Stonehenge environs. As a result of this ... Read More

August 17th, 2014

A  biography of Queen Eleanor of Provence,  is here  together with many of her letters. She remains the only English queen without a marked grave to this day, and what is known of her relationship with Amesbury priory  I wish to explore briefly in this post. In the 1280's in her usual practical way Queen Eleanor made arrangements to take the veil at the nunnery at Amesbury priory. In May 1280, the king ordered ten oaks be delivered from Chute forest to the prioress of the  priory 'for certain works' that Queen Eleanor the kings mother is causing to be made at Amesbury, and a further 20 oaks were ordered from Clarendon. In 1281 a further fifteen Oaks from Chute and twelve from Melksham were ... Read More

August 16th, 2014

Contemplating the writings of  Taliesin recently a few quotes,  fragments and thoughts are gathered below, as a repository. Below is a translation of the poem The Chair of the Sovereign  from pages 292  to 294 of  John Matthews book Taliesin The last  Celtic Shaman.: Sing a brilliant song Of boundless inspiration, Concerning the man who is to come To destroy the nations. His staff and his entrenchment, And his swift devastations, And his ruling leadership, And his written number And his red purple robes, And his assault against the rampart, And his appropriate seat Amid the great assembly. Has he not brought from Anwyn The horses of the pale burden-bearer, The princely old man, The cupbearing feeder, The third deeply wise one, Is the blessed ... Read More

Sir Richard Colt Hoare is often cited as one of the founding fathers of modern archaeological methods . With William Cunnington, in the early 19th century,  he excavated   379 barrows on Salisbury Plain as well as digging around a fallen trilithon and the slaughter stone at Stonehenge. His findings were meticulously recorded (for the time)  and published partially in the 1812 publication 'The Ancient History of Wiltshire'  which  begins and ends with the words ' we speak from facts not theories ' . On the bi centenary of  the publication of this seminal publication  Angie Wickenden wrote a celebration of it   which can be read here. As well as excavating the well known barrows at, and surrounding Stonehenge, he also dug the barrows ... Read More

Lady Antrobus of Amesbury Abbey captured the above stunning image on 12 September 1872,  which is taken from her personal scrap book . The location  is below Beacon Hill on Salisbury plain which is now Bulford camp. On first glancing at the image my initial thoughts were of the American civil war, which ended  seven years earlier on 9 May 1865. It captures the final march past and review after British Army exercises involving not less than 40 000 men  in southern Wiltshire and Dorset in the preceding days. Two armies were assembled, one at Blandford representing an invading force, and another on August 31 at Pewsey. The two sides comprised 12 cavalry regiments, 14 artillery batteries and 24 infantry battalions and the manoeuvres were ... Read More

The above image created by Lady Antrobus is both ethereal and enchanting, of  sadness consoled, and a testament to her artistic talent . Lady Florence Caroline Mathilde Antrobus was interested in the 'magic of Stonehenge', Arthurian legend, Aurelius Ambrosius, Mount Ambrosius, Amesbury Abbey, Amesbury and the surrounding area. Enlightened for the times, she  advocated  'preservation not restoration' of ancient buildings including Stonehenge and St Melor parish church in Amesbury . Her mother Georgina Alicia Satoris  hailed from Stillorgan Dublin and Lady Antrobus  held our Celtic ancestors in high esteem, referring to them as 'a highly cultivated civilised race'. She also wrote 'I consider credence should be placed in the idea that a great Druidical 'Cor' (choir or sanctuary ) or college once occupied the site ... Read More

Lady Florence Caroline Mathilde Satoris was born on 5 February 1856 at Tusmore Oxon. Her father had been born in France and her mother was Irish by birth. She married  Sir Edmund Antrobus on Tuesday 2 March 1886  carrying a bouquet of lilies of the valley, and died on 19 February 1923 at Eastbourne Sussex. The newly married  couple initially set up home in London and by the 1901 census had moved with their young son Edmund who was born on 23 December 1886 to Amesbury Abbey, which remained their family home until 1915. During her years at the Abbey Lady Antrobus developed  an interest in its history and that of the surrounding area  including Stonehenge and Amesbury. I am studying the exquisite personal scrap ... Read More

Since 871AD,  Amesbury estate of which Vespasian's  camp for much of that time  formed  part  has been in the possession of only six owners, including the crown for 768 years from 871AD to 1539AD.  King Alfred the Great who died on 26 October  899AD devised the lands to his son Aethelweard. It is likely that the estate belonged to the rulers of the region for millennia prior to this  and Stonehenge was masterminded, built and developed by their forebears, the lands subsequently descending with the crowns of Wessex and England. The Amesbury estate became significantly fragmented on 21 September 1915 when 6240 acres were offered for sale  by Sir Cosmo Antrobus at auction in New Street  Theatre Salisbury by lots, including the famous lot 15 Stonehenge ... Read More

The white horse of stonehenge. The photograph above was taken at 3 10pm in the afternoon of 14 October 2011, an exceptionally hot autumn afternoon for mid October. The picture, on the face of it is  an average snapshot .Two  aspects of this image do though give it a special significance to me, namely the white horse (or pony) in the foreground and the location. At the top, towards the right hand side of the image is fargo plantation at the western end of stonehenge cursus The horses are in a small paddock to the north of the Stonehenge monument and west of the rather less iconic sewerage works.The horse in the foreground appears to be looking directly at the camera with a calm and extremely ... Read More

The above photograph was captured  at approximately 7 45am on 22 May 2014 of the morning sun illuminating the Chinese summer house in the grounds of Amesbury Abbey, at the foot of Vespasians Camp. The variety and sound of bird song as I approached the river Avon at the foot of the heavily wooded and naturally pristine Vespasians Camp was stunning. The summer house sits over a meander that has been cut off from the main flow of the river Avon, the water still in morning sunlight and crystal clear above a settled  muddy riverbed. In a number of areas  bubbles of air arose  from a fresh water source below the riverbed gently feeding  fresh water into the river. In  numerous  areas where the bubbles ... Read More

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