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by Littlestone, Heritage Action 

The “Celtic Temple” at Winterbourne Bassett. From William Stukeley’s Itinerarium Curiousum of 1724. Note Silbury in the background

A mile or so along the lane from the White Horse Inn at Winterbourne Bassett are the remains of a stone circle, described by William Stukeley in Abury, a Temple of the British Druids, with Some Others Described of 1724 thus, “At Winterburn-basset, a little north of Abury, in a field north-west of the church, upon elevated ground, is a double circle of stones concentric, 60 cubits diameter. Many of the stones have 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 compos’d of large stones. I take this double circle to have been a family chapel, as we may call it, to an archdruid dwelling near thereabouts, whilst Abury was his cathedral.”

All that is now visible above ground are three fallen stones in a field. The standing stone on the verge of the T-junction opposite the field was erected in the last decade of the 20th century and was originally pink in colour, indicating that it had probably never formed part of a stone circle.

The Winterbourne Bassett Stone Circle today; only three stones from the circle now remain. Image credit Chris Brooks 

This feature first appeared on Avebury Matters  and is republished here with the author’s kind permission.


October 2009

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