Research into the origins of the sarsen stones at Stonehenge have shown that they come from near Marlborough (“Stonehenge: Sarsen stones origin mystery solved”, BBC News 29 July 2020). A core taken in 1958 from one of the sarsens at Stonehenge has been analysed and shown to match the chemical profile of the sarsens located at West Woods, to the south of Marlborough. [Note this is different to the sarsens on Fyfield Down.]
This is a personal list of heritage sites for Wiltshire.
Avebury. This must be one of the most impressive prehistoric sites in England. The village of Avebury sits within the Henge. The monument is placed in the middle of a rich archaeological landscape.
Silbury Hill. This artificial hill dominates the land around it and forms part of the Avebury landscape.
Stonehenge. This must be one of the most iconic prehistoric sites in England with the trilithons.
Old Sarum. The foundations of the original cathedral and the medieval castle sit within an Iron Age hillfort.
Salisbury Cathedral. The cathedral dominates the city of Salisbury. The foundation stone was laid in 1220 and it was consecrated in 1258.
Bemerton. The exquisite Bemerton church has associations with the poet George Herbert.
Wilton House. This is one of the most impressive houses in Wiltshire granted to the Pembrokes in 1544.
Lacock Abbey. Parts of the former nunnery can be seen within the later house. Lacock is important for the birth of modern photography (in 1835).
Bowood. The orangery (part of the 1768 south front) and the grounds hint at the grandeur of this estate. The main house was destroyed by fire in 1955.
Stourhead. This is one of the top landscapes gardens in Britain. It was originally laid out between 1722 and 1787. Among the buildings is Henry Flitcroft’s Pantheon (1753).
I have been thinking about my Top 10 heritage sites in Norfolk. This is very much a personal choice, and the locations are placed in (rough) chronological order. I have tried to include a variety of types of heritage site. How can you decide between Norwich Cathedral and Norwich Castle? Or between Felbrigg and Blickling? Castle Rising and Castle Acre?
Grime’s Graves. You can descend into the Neolithic flint mines.
Burgh Castle. One of the best preserved Roman forts of the Saxon Shore.
Norwich Cathedral. The cathedral is an architectural gem and dominates the city.
Binham Priory. Part of the Benedictine priory is still in use as the parish church.
Castle Rising. This well-preserved keep is dominated by a series of earthworks.
Oxburgh Hall. The moated hall at Oxburgh contains fabulous tapestries.
Felbrigg Hall. The 17th century front to the house is a gem.
Holkham Hall. One of the most magnificent houses and Grand Tour collections in Norfolk.
The North Norfolk Railway (The Poppy Line). The journey between Sheringham and Holt provides views of the coast as well as the Norfolk countryside.
Sandringham. The Royal residence sits in the middle of extensive landscaped grounds.
The Ministry sign to Stanton Drew Stone Circle has been adapted with a sign with arrow ‘This way’ attached over the lower section that read ‘Ancient Monument’. All becomes clear from the other side.
The West Kennet long barrow was placed on the 1882 Schedule of Ancient Monuments. It now lies within the Avebury World Heritage Site. The scientific excavation took place in 1955–56.
Radiocarbon dates suggest that the monument was constructed in the period 3,700–3,600 BC, more than a millennium earlier than was thought in the 1960s.
Lanyon Quoit is located near to Madron in Penwith. The remains formed part of a neolithic chambered tomb.
The stones were re-erected in 1824.
Ding Dong Mine sits on the skyline. This forms part of the UNESCO Cornwall & West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site.
The Cove lies to the south-west of the main circle at Stanton Drew, and to the rear of the Druid’s Arms. Lindsell finds parallels at Avebury, Cairnpapple, and at Rollright. Burl notes that the stone is dolomitic breccia, and different to the other stones.
This monolith stands at about the highest point to the south-west of Wadebridge in Cornwall. It was re-erected in 1956 and placed in State Guardianship in 1965 when it was provided with an MPBW sign (now replaced). Note that the original name was longstone rather than monolith.
Note that the stone is now dated from the Late Neolithic to the mid-Bronze Age, i.e. c. 2500–1500 BC; this contrasts with the view in the 1960s as used on the sign, 1800–600 BC.
The site is now managed by the Cornwall Heritage Trust.
The series of stone circles at Stanton Drew in Bath and Avon (formerly Somerset) were placed under the protection of the Ancient Monuments Protection Act (1882). For an overview of the site see English Heritage.
The guide was prepared by L.V. Grinsell (who also wrote the guide for Hetty Pegler’s Tump). It consists of 7 pages (the back page is blank) and contains a plan of the three circles in the centre pages. There is a short history of the site (noting the date to between 2000 and 1400 BC) and then descriptions of the Great Circle and Avenue, the North-eastern Circle, the South-western Circle, the Cove, and Hautville’s Quoit. In addition there is a section on Stanton Drew in Folk Tradition, and a review of the literature from John Aubrey (1664) and William Stukeley (1776).