Friday, 18 February 2011

Wiltshire - Stonehenge and Potterne

Last weekend we took a drive to Stonehenge, and en route we drove through the small, but beautiful, village of Potterne.  I thought that these photos would be of interest, and I have given links for further reading on both of these places for those who might be interested.

Stonehenge, on  Salisbury Plain, 137 kilometres south west of London, is one of the most ancient monuments in the world and has been a World Heritage Site since 1986. The best known of around 900 stone circles in the British Isles, it is thought to be either or both a holy site / astronomical observatory. The circle was aligned with the midsummer sunrise, the midwinter sunset, and the most southerly rising and northerly setting of the moon.

No proper evidence has been found of its builders nor reasons for its construction. The Druids were thought by some to have built it, but they came later in history!!
It is believed to have been started something over 5,000 years ago, with a circular earthen bank and ditch, dug by men using only animal shoulder bones and deer antlers (as shovels and picks respectively). Timber posts were replaced by stones from about 3100 BC. Over the next 2000 years, two types of stone were brought in and used for the construction of Stonehenge –first, the 'bluestones' which weigh almost four tons and were brought from 240 miles away in west Wales - the quarry site has been identified. The other type of stone used was the 'Sarsen' which had a height of about eighteen feet and weighed twenty-five tons. These were brought from the Marlborough Downs 19 miles away. The stones were jointed together using what would later be employed in woodworking techniques. How the very heavy stones were moved and erected can only be guessed at; this was very architecturally advanced for the era and the discoveries led to other theories that aliens had been involved in the work!
This truly remarkable endeavour took place before the wheel was invented and is estimated to have occupied 20-30 million man hours. No one culture is likely to have been responsible for the entire construction over the two millennia up to 1100 BC, and hence it is believed that the Windmill Hill people, the Beaker people (named for their pottery drinking cups) and later the First Wessex people, progressively added more stones to the site.
The last known construction at Stonehenge was about 1100 BC and the last usage of it was probably during the Iron Age, although later evidence of Roman activities has been uncovered.

This is my own, much abbreviated, summary (for purposes of brevity and attention-keeping) from information available to me and which I have credited. As might be expected with  something so ancient, the sources tend to differ somewhat in historical opinion and I have tried to keep to the middle ground. Any errors in this process are mine and readers are invited to follow the links if they wish to know more about this mysterious artifact from England’s distant past.
The above sketch from Buzzle see HERE
Information from Wikipedia,  Britannia, sacred-destinations and crystalinks.



I thought that the following photos of this beautiful house and church in Potterne were of also of interest. For information on this village see HERE
The Porch House was built around 1480, most probably by the Bishops of Salisbury, the churches being very wealthy at that time. It is a close studded timber framed house on an ashlar (dressed stone) plinth with a single storey central hall and two storey gabled wings. It is now a very important timber framed house and the site of the 10th century church is within its garden.





Amidst all these very old buildings, it looks as if the village post office has a brand new shiny sign!

56 comments:

  1. What a lovely tour! I did appreciate your abbreviated version of Stonehenge's history very much - I would say it's right on the mark too with most historians! Now about aliens having built it... that's for a Spielberg movie (he seems to like making those!):)
    Thanks!
    Ann

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  2. Ann it amazes me around the world how many ancient monuments there are and so little answers. The place which I know best are the Zimbabwe ruins which are fantastic but so few ideas as to how and when. Diane

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  3. Hi Diane, as you know I love your posts, but this one in particular brought back happy memories for me of visits to stonehenge when I was a child. It also reminded me of a trip past there with a coach full of Russians, but I'll tell you that in person when I see you in a few minutes! :-)

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  4. How lovely to revisit Stonehenge with you Diane. I have never been (yet) to Potterne but I love this part of England, and have explored it by foot all the way along the Ridgeway Trail from Goring on Thames to Avebury. Thank you for posting this treasure.

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  5. Our daughter lives not far from Stonehenge and although we know the area a little, do not know Potterne, although the pictures looked familiar. We have driven on the A360 so maybe that is why, lucky village still having a post office.

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  6. I remember seeing a documentary by Billy Connelly who danced naked at Stonehenge - not a pretty sight, Billy that is.
    Stonehenge looks magnificent - One day maybe.

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  7. What memories you have brought back for me - I landed in London early on a Friday afternoon in July 1987 after a direct flight from NZ. The next day I was in a VW Combi van (what else!) with my sister and her friends heading to a 40th birthday "do" in Devon (as you do when you're a young kiwi in the UK)... and we drove past Stone Henge!!!

    Stuuned amazement followed by a weekend of wonder at the stone cottages with thatched roofs (some roofs under repair).

    Thank you so much for your latest tour, send care and love, Michelle and Zebby Cat (awake and loudly purring) xxx and PuRRRRRumbles

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  8. It is an amazing place Stonehenge and I still can't get my head around how they moved the stones.

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  9. Hi Diane...

    Looks like you're getting around! I am just catching up on blog reading, since it's been sooo long!
    Hope all is great and spring is springing where you are... or at least, some signs of spring...
    Have a great weekend!

    Take care,
    Leesa

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  10. So beautiful and interesting tour !!!
    Your photos are very nice, thank you !!
    Have a nice weekend !

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  11. What a coincidence! My daughter is fascinated by Druids right now. I think we should definitely go see it.
    I hope you have a pleasant trip back to France. It's fantastic that you had a chance to meet Froggy in real life.

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  12. Happy Frog, I am glad this brought back memories and I loved the story of the trip with the russians. It was fantastic to meet you today and I just love the Happy Frog. After the back log of posts I seem to have accumulated he will appear on my blog. Take care and keep happy :-) Diane

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  13. Dolly glad you enjoyed this post, I also have Avebury coming up so watch this spot! Potterne is remarkable, those buildings are very special. Diane

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  14. Lindy, Potterne is beautiful but as we had to go back to Devizes we were on the back roads. We are lucky to still have a post office here at the moment but they are threatening to close our library which will be a disaster :-( Diane

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  15. Hi Leon, you mean to tell me I missed something like that :-) maybe it was for the best as you say not a pretty sight!!! I was quite disappointed as they have commercialised it so much. It is not fun like it used to be where you could wander between the stones and really take a look. It is now fenced and you have to pay to follow a route which is overrun with tourists. Somehow it is not quite the same!! Diane

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  16. Mickle I am so glad I have brought back happy memories. I often wonder nowadays how I used to stay up amd part all night, now I am ready for bed as soon as the sun goes down:-) Love to Zebby and of course yourself. Hugs Diane xx

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  17. Diane you are right, how did they move thos stones? Quite a feat. Dolly Dimple arrived today and I just love her to bits. Thank you so very much. Diane

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  18. Hi Leesa good to have you back following again,I suspect you have had a much warmer winter than we have had !!! I am now counting the weeks to my return to the Charente. Diane

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  19. Thanks Magda, glad you enjoyed the tour. You must have many historic stone places in Greece? Diane

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  20. Olga glad your daughter was interested in the post, but note what I said to Leon about it now being much commercialised. It was an absolute delight to meet the Happy Frog, he has a very happy owner and he lives in a very happy house. I felt like we had known each other for years :-))) Diane

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  21. It makes sense that Stonehenge would have been added to and changed over human history. Like building a church over a previous temple.

    I like the architecture with the timbers and overhanging second floor. Saw similar in Frankfurt.

    Thanks for the tour Diane.

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  22. Diane, you did a bang-up job with Stonehenge.. one of my favorite places. I haven't been there in so many years. Perhaps this summer if I'm lucky!!! You made me drool with your descriptions...it is amazing what they could do with so little and why??? WHy do all that work... there is an incredible secret in there somewhere, don't you think????

    As for the town... I want that Porch house... good golly it's incredible! I'm crazy about half timbered anything.

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  23. ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
    a 1000 times thanks for making me remember!
    i was there when i was 23!!! about a century ago!!! HI!HI! so it seems!
    happy weekend!
    Rosa

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  24. It is always so interesting to read about Stonehenge.

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  25. Wow those old house really look interesting with stuff growing on the roff, it really shows the age of the structure but still beautiful to look at. Those stones are really cool too.

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  26. Around where I live in South Brittany there are many standing stones, some just odd stones others that at some point were "buildings", there is a set of stones called the three sisters, who were out dancing on a Sunday instead of being in church, they were turned to stone.

    This is near the village of Marcillé-Robert,
    http://rozinbrittany.blogspot.com/2010/04/few-pics-text-tomorrow.html

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  27. Diane,
    We lived not far from Stonehenge and drove past it regularly. One of the many things that I loved about our little part England. Thank for sharing.

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  28. Gaelyn I fell in love with that house it was reallly something very special. Diane

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  29. lostpastremembered, that makes two of us who wants that house it was stunning! As I said previously here, Stonehenge has been over commercialised, and although the stones have not changed, I just feel that it has been spoilt now that is fenced and you cannot walk around freely. Diane

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  30. Rosa I am so glad to have brought back good memories. Have a good weekend. Diane

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  31. Rosaria, glad you found it of interest. Have a good weekend. Diane

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  32. chubskulit, that house was amazing, I would love to own that!! Take care, Diane

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  33. Paul and Roz, these standing stones around the world are interesting, love your post. It would be good to jump on the Tardis and go back and see how, when and why!!! Diane

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  34. Mrs M I have discoverd more about English history in the last few month that I ever did in the past. All because of my blog and looking up information. I am so happy I cacame a bogger :) Diane

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  35. It sounds like a wonderful day trip. I really must get there, though England is not on our radar this year. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  36. Mary you had an amazing holiday last year, would love to know where you plan to go this year. Take care. Diane

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  37. What a mysterious and intriguing site! I am just so fascinated by these wonders of man, that with all our modern technology and skills we are still left to wonder what really happened? Amazing and thanks for the ride!

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  38. Taste of Beirut it is an intriguing site and wouldn't it be nice to know how, when and why. There are so many mysteries in history. Diane

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  39. So lucky you are to be so close to such great beauties! I've always wanted to see Stonehenge in person, I just love learning about ancient history like that!

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  40. Peggy, Stonehenge is not too far from where my father-in-law lives, and as we had time when we went to see him last weekend, I thought it would be a good chance for me to see it. Avebury was also seen en route the same day so watch this space :) Diane

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  41. Great stuff about Stone henge!
    About the Bloody Nose beetle, it is because it "bleeds" a toxin from its mouth and leg-joints when it feels in danger. It is a reddish liquid. It is not the only beetle to do this. You can see pictures here with the Blister Beetle or Violet Oil Beetle doing it:
    http://1000-pattes.blogspot.com/2010/05/meloe-violet-des-femelles.html
    Keep well, I am quite busy these days!!!
    Love, XXXXX

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  42. Thanks Noushka for the info, now I understand the name. Keeping busy keeps you out of mischief :))) Take care Diane. xxx

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  43. Stonehenge est dans tous les livres d'Histoire français! Merci pour la visite!!
    Les vieilles maisons ou le strès vieilles comme celles de Ptterne ont beaucoup de charme et nous raconttent la vie des habitants qui les ont occupées.
    Mais la Poste a une très belle enseigne!
    Merci pour ce joli reportage photo.

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  44. Havnt been there yet -thanks for the reminder !

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  45. Are the fences there to keep tourists from chipping bits and pieces away? Wish I could have seen it while still a completely natural surrounding. It is one of those places that you hear about and see in books and dreamthat one day you can be there.
    Love the old tudor buildings. Anmazing how some are not just trimmed with straight and angled boards but in such lovely patterns.

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  46. Oh wow Diane, thanks for posting the Stonehenge! This is such an amazing place. I was wondering what these are for? UFO landing place? haha... Ya, I have every good imagination. haha...just curious to know! Wondering how they built this thing up when there's no tractor nor machine during those days. And so are the pyramids! Phew... Anyway, hope you're having a great week ahead. Have fun!
    Blessings, Kristy

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  47. Mya sadly there are some people in this world that have no respect for history (or other things for that matter)! They damage by chipping of bits and also graffiti, it just makes you wonder…….. They just spoil it for everyone else. You have to pay to go inside the fence, but then you have to keep to the paths so it is impossible to view it properly like we used to.
    Those building were some of the nicest ones I have seen. Diane

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  48. Kristy it amazes me how any of the very old buildings and historic sites were built or moved. As you say there was none of the equipment that we have today - it would seem like an impossible task but obviously it wasn't. Diane

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  49. Mister D, thanks for the visit. I see you are a painter, stonehenge would be a good place to do one of your paintings :) Diane

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  50. The houses are absolutely gorgeous and Stonehenge, well it's Stonehenge, a place I would love to visit, which I much enjoyed seeing in your photos.

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  51. JM you have travelled so extensively that I am surprised you have missed Stonehenge. As I said earlier it has become much commercialised, sad. Diane

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  52. Stonehenge is one of the places on my list of places that I would still like to visit. The place must have a real mystic atmosphere to it. I am jealous.

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  53. Firefly it has got a mystic atmosphere, but I would love to see it when it is not milling with tourists and be able to walk amongst the stones. Avebury is better from the point of view you can wander in and around the stones but somehow it is not quite as mystical. Watch this spot Avebury will be posted soon. Diane

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  54. You know, when growing up my dad always told me to keep my mind open and it is something I have taught my children..I never laugh at any creative thinking..Stonehenge is truly a beautiful site and who knows how it was founded and for what reason..I do believe it was a religion of sorts..like so many unexplained things..very interesting..I had a great trip with you and your blog..thanks.Rosebud/Carolyn

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  55. Rosebud Collection Your father was right and it is something I also try to practise. I wish I could go back in time and watch how they moved those stones! It is an amazing feat. Diane

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