Wiltshire is the finest county, with a great many things to see and do, and good access to London and Bristol. If, like me you’re interested in the past, there is, what appears to be, an endless supply of antiquities to study. Such as the Alton Barnes white horse.
The green and white stripes represent the chalk downland, and the segmented circle, henge monuments. But the bird is a strange creature; it is a big, powerful legged avian. It may be a fabulous Heraldic bird. But then again, it may actually exist. This is Otis tarda: the Great Bustard.
Bradford on Avon is a market town in West Wiltshire, situated upon one of the many rivers in Britain called the Avon. Avon comes from afon – Welsh for river.
From time to time something gets discovered that is new and surprising. Royal Wootton Bassett mud springs are definitely new and surprising. These are springs that instead of upwelling water, as springs generally do, produce goopey clay mud.
The friends of Lydiard Park tell us, on their website, that the great forest of Braydon once extended across north Wiltshire. It covered much of the ground where Swindon now stands as well as the land destined to become Lydiard Park.
The other week my regular guest blogger, Rebecca Davies, sent me a delightful and charming account of an older couple she once visited in Ferndale. It’s a lovely story and it’s further down in this post. But as her story is set in Ferndale I figured I could tie it in with a Swindon in 50 More Buildings post centred on the Southbrook Inn Swindon. Which happens to be in Ferndale.
The Wiltshire Mummers’ Play: Mummers plays are an old Christmas tradition in many parts of the country. A group of friends would dress up, and go round the neighbourhood performing a little play. This had a set script. But, thanks to oral transmission, this would have varied from district to district. In return they received money and food, and, no doubt, drink.
We call it Celtic. Though it’s also Pictish, Viking, or Anglo Saxon. We call it Interlaced though it can be freeform, zoomorphic, spirals or tessellated. What am I talking about? I’m referring to the genre known as Insular art. (Some of which comes from the Mainland…) (Bain 1977).
Wiltshire’s Sarsen Stones
A Canadian friend came to stay and, since they were a Neo-pagan, I decided to show them Avebury stone circle, a favourite place of mine. This didn’t go exactly to plan. For a start they were most upset because some Early Medieval people had decided to build their village on a sacred site.