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The Sanctuary in 1723 by William Stukeley
The Sanctuary at Avebury was destroyed by a local farmer at the beginning of the 18th century. Fortunately we have this engraving, by William Stukeley, from 1723 showing what it was like before the stones were carted away. Access to the Sanctuary is still allowed and the view portrayed above, by Stukeley, remains little changed. The missing or destroyed stones, that once formed the Sanctuary, are now indicated by concrete markers.
To quote Stukeley, who witnessed the destruction of the Avebury stone circle at around the same time, “…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.”

This bronze age round barrow  is a miracle of proportionality, form and placement with auspicious  views in all directions across the Midlands to the Clent, Lickey, Clee, Abberley, Malvern and Cotswold Hills – a four thousand year old piece of landscape art, little noticed yet stunning and without modern parallel in the bland Worcestershire countryside.


Barrow Hill, Worcestershire

It would have been no trouble at all to build the shack a few yards away… but since the planning system doesn’t care, why should anyone else?


February 2010

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