Sunday, 17 March 2013

Attending church in Alton Priors

No I haven't had a sudden conversion ( although today is St Patrick's Day) but a visit to some very unusual stones in a very unusual location....

It's not unusual to find old ritual stones reused as a part of a church but they have done it a little differently at All Saints in Alton Priors.

This is a pretty decommissioned church with some interesting extras. They helpfully provide some nice laminated boards with the church history but strangely no mention at all is made of what you will find if you lift up a couple of trap doors in the floor.

Here's the first - easily done but heavy!

and here's the second.

All the stones are Sarsen ( same as the  nearby Stonehenge and Avebury stone circles) and this one has a clear hole through it.

Outside the church, the most striking feature is the huge Yew tree which has been independently assessed as being 1700 years old.

Now since the church is 12CE and seems to be built on top of some very interesting stones it does point to this being a very old sacred site indeed.

Getting hungry now so off to nearby Honey Street and the famous Barge Inn .

This is Crop Centre Central! Fabulous ceiling in the crop circle room and the food's not bad either. I had the Area 51 cider to wash it down. Strong stuff  ( but not quite as strong as the scrumpy here in Somerset!) Oh and a nice stone in the garden too..

Now feeling the effects of the Area 51 a walk was definitely in order.

Leaving the car at the Barge with the landlords permission we went a little way along the canal intending to climb up Milk Hill and look at the White Horse. However a casual glance over the wall revealed two more stones.

 Private land unfortunately so I couldn't get a better picture.

Here is the Alton Barnes horse. Cut in 1812 it isn't terribly old but it does dominate the landscape from its position on Milk Hill.

Also on top of Milk Hill are a number of barrows and earthworkings. This is a view along the top of the long barrow known as "Adam's Grave" which occupies a summit point.

Yes that is snow. And yes it was snowing on us...  

Can you see the white horse? This is a picture I took on first arrival at Alton Priors.
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