An earlier shortened version of this article can be found on The Henge Shop website
For the Spring Brexinox, 2019
A Newly Revealed Temple at Avebury
The Avebury henge site was very nearly lost to us. We owe its existence to Alexander Keiller, the ‘Marmalade Millionaire’ who, during the 1930s, poured his family inheritance into restoring the site. Before Keiller, there were only eight original stones left standing at Avebury.
Avebury henge in the snow. The Henge Shop is at the centre, the Church just to its left.
During the early eighteenth century, the inhabitants of Avebury village became engaged in the wholesale toppling of Avebury’s huge stones and their subsequent reduction to building stone. If that great antiquarian and chronicler William Stukely had not publicly intervened, all of Avebury’s stones would have been removed and the site totally destroyed. A single generation would have demolished Avebury.
During Avebury’s darkest days, Stukely wrote,
‘And this stupendous fabric, which for some thousands of years, had brav’d the continual assaults of weather, and by the nature of it, when left to itself, like the pyramids of Egypt, would have lasted as long as the globe, hath fallen a sacrifice to the wretched ignorance and avarice of a little village unluckily plac’d within it.’ Continue reading