Antiquarian topography books: Abury A Temple of the British Druids by William Stukeley (Circa 1743)
Abury A Temple of the British Druids by William Stukeley. Finely re-bound original copy of this exceptional work. During the first part of the 18th Century, William Stukeley (1687 – 1765) devoted his time to Avebury and so much of what is known about the more recent history is attributable to him. Not only did he chronicle his visits he also drew much of what he saw. He mistakenly allied the Avebury monuments to the Druids and believed the henge and avenues to be a representation of a giant serpent but his ideas were no more fanciful than many that have followed since. His findings at Avebury were published in 1743 in his “Abury, A Temple of the British Druids”. It is his illustrations and records that have proved so valuable in helping us realize what a magnificent and extensive undertaking the Avebury monuments were. During his visits to Avebury he had to witness much of the unforgivable destruction that took place at that time. His contribution has been vital to the history of the monuments for without it researchers would have great difficulty in interpreting what is there now. The recent discoveries in the Beckhampton Avenue have only occurred as a result of Stukeley’s earlier observations. If he hadn’t taken a keen interest in the Avebury monuments one wonders how long it would have taken later researchers to suspect the avenue’s existence and if it would have ever been found.
Written during the first quarter of the 18th Century, it’s incredible to consider the impact this work had on modern archaeology and indeed to address that matter that it predates the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 too.