Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Reverend A.C.Smith

Today in Bath reference library I took down a map book by this Victorian gentleman, it was entitled if memory serves right A 100 Square Miles Round Avebury, written were all the local names of fields, red and yellow dots which I presume were barrows, but no reference with the map book, this came in the form of another book. Coloured in it was a rather naive but beautiful plan, much better than the Andrew and Dury which is always shown. Googling Reverend Smith I note that he lived very near to Silbury. With that marvellous job that only requires attendance on Sunday our vicar gave himself up to the pleasures of recording the area in which he lived for over 30 years.

By the Rev. A. C. SMITH, M.A.
Read before the Society at Avebury during the annual Meeting at Marlborouth,
September, 1859.

" Unchanged it stands :
it awes the lands
Beneath the clear dark sky ;
But at what time its head sublime
It heavenward reared, and why —
The gods that see all things that be
Can better tell than I."

* as I do, though not quite under its shadow, yet live within sight of Silbury, I feel in some degree locally constituted its guardian, and if I hear of any one impugning its purpose, or in any way speaking disrespectfully of the great mound, I have such a wholesome dread of incurring the wrath of the " genius loci," that I consider myself in duty bound to act in some sort as its champion, and rebut any such accusations to the best of my power. Moreover esteeming it as one of the most remarkable and interesting relics of antiquity in this or any other County, and entertaining a strong belief that it contains the remains of the mighty dead of a very early age, I am very desirous to rescue it from the imputation of having been raised for other than sepulchral purposes, under which it has lain since the year 1849, when Mr. Tucker, who drew up the report of its examination by the Archaeological Institute boldly concluded his paper by announcing the sepulchral theory to be henceforth exploded.......

The following was taken from his book, and gives an account of the Beckhampton Avenue that Stukeley drew on his plan, in the above article Rev.Smith says that the proposed avenue might have been "fanciful", yet in this book he seems quite happy with the idea...

Stukeley's account; "The Beckahampton Avenue goes out of Abury town on the west point, and proceeds by the south side of the church. Two stones lie by the parsonage gate on the right hand. Those opposite to them, on the left hand, in a pasture was taken away in 1702, as marked in the grand plan of Abury. Reuben Horsal remembers three standing in the pasture. One now lies in the floor of the house in the churchyard. A little further one lies in the corner of the next house on the right hand,by the lane turning off to the right of the bridge. Another was broken into pieces, to build that house with it in 1714. Two more lie on the left hand opposite. It then passes he beck south of the bridge. Most of the stones hereabouts have been made use of round the bridge, and the causeway leading to it" (Abury Described - Stukeley)

Rev.Smith says; there is no question that Stukeley is to be believed he most certainly saw, many sarsen stones lying in two, more or less apparent, lines west of the great circle of Abury, moreover he speaks of 10 stones standing in living? memory.....

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