Alton Barnes Church St.Mary;
taken from Pevesner;
"an Anglo saxon church, shown by the long and short quoin stones at the W end and also, by the narrow tall proportions of the nave. Recent excavtion on the north side revealed Saxon pilasters along the nave wall. Foundations of an earlier chancel were also uncovered. Impost moulding also probably A/S. Saxon chancel arch was probably taken down in 1832"
Settlement site 1.1/4 miles north from the village, on boundary with Stanton St.Bernard. Probably Iron age, comprises a roughly small circular enclosure with the remains of hut platforms within, in a charter of 905 the site was referred to as eorth byrig.
Sarsen stone under Alton Priors church
Alton Priors Church; All Saints;
"Perp.w. tower, with nave and low brick chancel, the nave was originally narrower -this is proved by the position of the norman arch............everything later Jacobean, etc.
Earliest is late norman arcades, four bays, their foundation mighty Sarsen stones.......chancel late c13 to c14 century, the tower is ashlar faced and has pinnacled battlements. Perp. aisle walls, the foundations again Sarsen stones. Pagan saxon cemetery, 1 mile ssw. Excav.in1969, 60 burials, adults and children, many well dressed and probably of the earlier 6th c. The cemetery overlies an iron age settlement.
Adam's Grave; 1 mile nne....Chambered long barrow with prominent side ditches. Part of burial chamber is exposed at the se end. The barrow, which is of classic wedge shaped is supported by a retaining wall of upright sarsens and oolitic dry stone walling(the latter now buried beneath barrow material). Excavated C18, skeletons and arrowheads found. Wodnes Berg, Wodens barrow mentioned in a Saxon land charter of Ad 825 and which gives its name to two battles fought near by in Ad 592 and 715
Looking towards Adams grave
Pewsey church was standing in 1086, when it was held by Rainbold the priest: that it was then referred to as standing on the king's estate may suggest that it was built before 940. (fn. 45) In the 13th century and until the earlier 15th the church was served by both a rector and a vicar. (fn. 46) In 1440 the vicarage was consolidated with the rectory, (fn. 47) which in 1991 was united with the united benefice of Easton and Milton Lilbourne and the rectory of Wootton Rivers as Pewsey benefice. (fn. 48) The advowson of the rectory belonged to Hyde abbey, the lord of PewseyFrom: 'Pewsey', A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 16: Kinwardstone Hundred (1999
REINBALD the priest holds Avebury church with two hides according to the Domesday Book,
REINBALD the priest holds Pewsey church with 1 carucate of land. Other land held by the Abbey of Winchester, also Arnulf (presumably of Hesdin) holds two hides (he could not be separated from them) Edric holds 1.l/2
Archaeological evidence of Saxon* terrace cultivation on the side of Pewsey Hill along with burial mounds know as "barrows", show that this area was settled as long ago as the 6th century CE** with possible evidence of an underlying Iron Age settlement dating as far back as c. 300 BCE**†. Evidence of post Roman culture has been found all along the Avon and Kennet river valleys with additional discovery of a Roman mosaic pavement in Manningford Bruce.
Literature from the Saxon era refers to Pewsey as "Pevisigge"or "Pev’s Island" after a local land owner named Pev. It gained its charter in 940 CE and the Parish was granted equal portions of river meadow, woodland and downland grazing land. The original charter is now preserved at Winchester College, a Public (privately run) school in Winchester
This church is not of notable interest, but the reused roman stature embedded in the wall probably came from the roman villa nearby.
"Roman tesserae, tile fragments and pottery sherds were found at Tockenham and a possible villa was suggested. The site has been subject to investigation by the Time Team in 1994 and was confirmed as being a villa with associated structures, probably dating from the 2nd to 4th centuries. Finds from the excavations have included pottery, tesserae, window glass fragments and roofing tile. Scheduled. " taken from Pastscape Monument No.887838.
"The Rod of Asclepius symbolizes the healing arts by combining the serpent, which in shedding its skin is a symbol of rebirth and fertility with the staff, a symbol of authority, befitting the god of Medicine. The snake wrapped around the staff is widely claimed to be a species of rat snake,Elaphe longissima, also known as the Aesculapian (Asclepian) snake. It is native to southeastern Europe, Asia Minor and some central European spa regions, apparently brought there by Romans for their healing properties." taken from Wikipedia.
The snake wrapped round Aesculpius's rod is a single snake and not to be confused with Mercury's double snakes..
There are also wooden posts embedded in the south wall of the church - Pevesner says, that inside, the bell-turrets stand on old posts, and that they are flanked by new timber-framed work.