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Circles under churches
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Littlestone
Littlestone
5381 posts

Re: Circles under churches
May 09, 2005, 17:12
> Pete G said "My guess is that the stones were rediscovered when the floor was done and a friendly vicar decided to put the doors in as a way of attracting more people into the church." That is my view too. <

Sorry, that just doesn't add up. The stones under the floor may have been 'rediscovered' when the new floor was re-laid but putting trapdoors in to attract more visitors? More visitors for what? This is hardly Canterbury Cathedral. Alton Priors church is in the middle of no-where.* The only people over the last hundred years or so likely to make a trek to Alton Priors church to see the stones under the floor would have been a few antiquarians and perhaps the occasional neo-pagan. The sarsens under the floor aren't even mentioned in the Alton Priors Church guidebook - hardly indicative of wanting to attract more people.

> Alton Priors church is built in an area thick with sarsen stones. It is impossible not to fall over them. <

Really? Not only did I not fall over any other sarsens around Alton Priors church I didn't even see any others. But I think I know what you mean. A neighbour of mine in south Swindon once found a sarsen stone in his garden - at first he thought it was just an ordinary stone but after a week of digging realized it was a monster which eventually had to be taken out with a crane.

> ... but why were these stones any more sacred to pagans than the hundreds lying around in the same (Alton Priors) field? <

Again, hundreds lying around in the same field? I must be missing something here. The only other stones I saw lying around Alton Priors church were gravestones.

But Peter, may I ask why you seem to be so adverse to the notion that Alton Priors is a pre-Christian place of importance when the stones under the church floor, the 1,700 year-old yew tree in the graveyard, the spring just a little way away, all seem to suggest a place of pre-Christian importance?

We can argue the toss about Alton Priors 'til the cows come home - what we need is a bit more information which I'll try to gather over the summer.

* No-where in terms of a place for Christian worship but a mere stone's throw from The Ridgeway - and the Ridgeway has attracted many Neolithic structures along its route.
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