On reviewing an archive earlier this year , I  discovered this article and  transcript of  the auction in Salisbury 0n 21 September 1915 at which Stonehenge was sold and have replicated the document as faithfully as possible below . Amesbury Abbey Estate Sale. Stonehenge bought by a Salisbury Resident An Unpremeditated Purchase. Amesbury Abbey estate, the historic domain which was fully described in our issue of a fortnight ago, was brought under the hammer at the New Street Theatre, Salisbury, on Tuesday afternoon. No purchaser was found to undertake the responsibility of the estate as a whole, extending to about 6,420 acres. With an estimated rent roll of £5,359, it was broken up into lots, the greater number of which were sold, the purchase money ... Read More

The above photograph was taken at Stonehenge by Mr. Paul Barlow on Midsummer's Day, 21 June 2014. Given the vagaries of British summer weather and frequent early morning mists and fogs arising in this region of Salisbury Plain from the confluence of five rivers near Salisbury to the south, a perfect sunrise is the exception rather than the rule. For a photograph to also capture a perfect sunrise relative to the Heel Stone at Stonehenge, rarer still. These factors combine to elevate this image into something special. This is the first perfect summer solstice sunrise after the removal of the road  immediately to the north of the Heel Stone. As the people were gathering in anticipation before the sun first rose it struck me when ... Read More

The above watercolour with a photograph of the gentleman's face inserted was painted by Mary Anne Antrobus of her brother Sir Edmund Antrobus c.1869 and was subsequently placed by Lady Florence Caroline Mathilde Antrobus (Nee Satoris), his wife, into her personal scrapbook. Sir Edmund is portrayed on a step outside the diningroom window of 461 Piccadilly with his dog Toby. On 23 December 1886 at 7A Eaton Square, London, a son and heir was born to 'the wife of Lieutenant-Colonel Antrobus of the Grenadier Guards, Edmund Antrobus'. He was educated at Park Hill School in Lyndhurst in the New Forest, Eton, and in France before becoming a professional soldier. He played cricket, football and golf. On 27 May 1908, the War Office published the following (extract) 'foot ... Read More

September 15th, 2014

Will Self offered his observations here on 21 June 2014, of  the 'museumification' of Stonehenge by the current custodians / gatekeepers, arising from  the demands of modern day visitors and mammon. The charming photograph above, in the context of the history of Stonehenge was taken in recent times, and represents a Stonehenge  as much lost to us now as the Stonehenge of Neolithic times. I have been informed by the Bradbury family who have kindly allowed me to publish the photograph above , that it was captured in 1929. A work colleague recently informed me, his mother and her cousins  used to clamber freely over the stones while  accompanying her father, who worked  as a shepherd in the Stonehenge environs. As a result of this ... Read More

August 17th, 2014

A  biography of Queen Eleanor of Provence,  is here  together with many of her letters. She remains the only English queen without a marked grave to this day, and what is known of her relationship with Amesbury priory  I wish to explore briefly in this post. In the 1280's in her usual practical way Queen Eleanor made arrangements to take the veil at the nunnery at Amesbury priory. In May 1280, the king ordered ten oaks be delivered from Chute forest to the prioress of the  priory 'for certain works' that Queen Eleanor the kings mother is causing to be made at Amesbury, and a further 20 oaks were ordered from Clarendon. In 1281 a further fifteen Oaks from Chute and twelve from Melksham were ... Read More

August 16th, 2014

Contemplating the writings of  Taliesin recently a few quotes,  fragments and thoughts are gathered below, as a repository. Below is a translation of the poem The Chair of the Sovereign  from pages 292  to 294 of  John Matthews book Taliesin The last  Celtic Shaman.: Sing a brilliant song Of boundless inspiration, Concerning the man who is to come To destroy the nations. His staff and his entrenchment, And his swift devastations, And his ruling leadership, And his written number And his red purple robes, And his assault against the rampart, And his appropriate seat Amid the great assembly. Has he not brought from Anwyn The horses of the pale burden-bearer, The princely old man, The cupbearing feeder, The third deeply wise one, Is the blessed ... Read More

Sir Richard Colt Hoare is often cited as one of the founding fathers of modern archaeological methods . With William Cunnington, in the early 19th century,  he excavated   379 barrows on Salisbury Plain as well as digging around a fallen trilithon and the slaughter stone at Stonehenge. His findings were meticulously recorded (for the time)  and published partially in the 1812 publication 'The Ancient History of Wiltshire'  which  begins and ends with the words ' we speak from facts not theories ' . On the bi centenary of  the publication of this seminal publication  Angie Wickenden wrote a celebration of it   which can be read here. As well as excavating the well known barrows at, and surrounding Stonehenge, he also dug the barrows ... Read More

Lady Antrobus of Amesbury Abbey captured the above stunning image on 12 September 1872, which is taken from her personal scrapbook. The location is below Beacon Hill on Salisbury Plain, which is now Bulford camp. On first glancing at the image, my initial thoughts were of the American civil war, which ended seven years earlier on 9 May 1865. It captures the final march past and review after British Army exercises involving not less than 40,000 men in southern Wiltshire and Dorset in the preceding days. Two armies were assembled, one at Blandford, representing an invading force, and another on August 31 at Pewsey. The two sides comprised 12 cavalry regiments, 14 artillery batteries and 24 infantry battalions, and the manoeuvres were scheduled to continue ... Read More

The above image created by Lady Antrobus is both ethereal and enchanting, of sadness consoled, and a testament to her artistic talent. Lady Florence Caroline Mathilde Antrobus was interested in the 'magic of Stonehenge', Arthurian legend, Aurelius Ambrosius, Mount Ambrosius, Amesbury Abbey, Amesbury and the surrounding area. Enlightened for the times, she advocated 'preservation not restoration' of ancient buildings including Stonehenge and St. Melor parish church in Amesbury. Her mother Georgina Alicia Satoris hailed from Stillorgan, Dublin, and Lady Antrobus held our Celtic ancestors in high esteem, referring to them as 'a highly cultivated civilised race'. She also wrote 'I consider credence should be placed in the idea that a great Druidical 'Cor' (choir or sanctuary) or college once occupied the site of the Christian ... Read More

Lady Florence Caroline Mathilde Satoris was born on 5 February, 1856 at Tusmore, Oxon. Her father had been born in France and her mother was Irish by birth. She married Sir Edmund Antrobus on Tuesday 2 March, 1886, carrying a bouquet of lilies of the valley. She died on 19 February, 1923 at Eastbourne, Sussex. The newly married couple initially set up home in London, and by the 1901 census had moved with their young son Edmund, who was born on 23 December, 1886, to Amesbury Abbey, which remained their family home until 1915. During her years at the Abbey, Lady Antrobus developed an interest in its history and that of the surrounding area, including Stonehenge and Amesbury. I am studying the exquisite personal scrapbook that Lady Antrobus maintained ... Read More

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