In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Avebury like this:
AVEBURY, or Abury, a village and a parish in Marlborough district, Wilts. The village adjoins a headstream of the Kennet river, 11/3. mile N of Silbury hill, 4 miles N of Wans dyke, 6½ W of Marlborough r. station, and 8 SSE of Wootton-Bassett; and has a post office under Chippenham. Its site is a flat area of 28 acres, once occupied by a vast Druidical temple. Dr. Stukeley, who examined the temple in 1720, supposed it to have originally consisted of 650 stones, and to have included the whole site of the present village. ...
It is surrounded by a broad ditch, outside of which is a lofty vallum, intended, it is supposed, to enable spectators to observe the ceremonies over the whole extent of the area. Within the ditch was a circle, 1,400 feet in diameter, formed of 100 upright stones, from 15 to 17 feet in height, and about 40 in circumference, placed at a distance of 27 yards from one another. Within this were two circles, each consisting of two double concentric rows, composed of the same number of stones, and arranged in a similar manner. The grand circle had two entrances, consisting of double rows of 100 upright stones each, placed at equal distances, and extending a mile in length; the one terminating in a double concentric circle of smaller diameter, and the other having a stone larger than the rest at the extremity. Of this vast structure few traces now remain, the stones having been broken down and used n the construction of the houses of the village, and in repairing the roads. Many barrows and tumuli, together with Druidical stones, are in the neighbourhood; and a most remarkable one is that called Silbury Hill: which see.The parish includes the tythings of Beckhampton and East and West Kennet. Acres, 4,544. Real property, £6,717. Pop., 725. Houses, 153. The manor was given, in the time of Henry I., to the abbey of Boscharville in Normandy; passed first to Winchester college, Oxford, next to the collegiate church of Fotheringhay in Northamptonshire; and went, at the dissolution, to Sir William Sharington. Avebury-house is the manor-house. The living is a vicarage, united till 1865 to the vic. of Winterbourne-Monkton, in the diocese of Salisbury. Value, £250.* Patron, the Lord Chancellor. The church is an ancient structure of stone and flint, with some Norman features, but much altered by modern repairs; and has a curious Norman font. Charities £10.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Avebury has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Kennet. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Avebury and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Avebury, in Kennet and Wiltshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 10th March 2014
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