Tuesday, 1 April 2014

A is for Avebury

My theme for this challenge is Local History: People and Places.  In each of the 26 posts I hope to be able to share a few interesting facts about the history and folklore of the area I live in - a taster really, just scratching the surface.  I live in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England which is only four miles from the border with Somerset so some of the posts relate to the history of Wiltshire and some to the history of Somerset.  I hope you enjoy my alphabet posts.

So, today is the letter A ...

.... let's start with a look at some Wiltshire dialect words which start with A. Do you know what an attercop is?  How about an apple-bout? Finally, what does 'and that' mean?  Answers at the end of this post.

Now to journey 21 miles north east of Trowbridge to the village of Avebury, a World Heritage Site which is owned and run by the National Trust.

Avebury stands in the centre of the largest Neolithic stone circle in Europe.  There are actually three stone circles:  the henge (a bank and ditch) where the largest of the stone circles is and then there are  two inner circles.  Built around 2600BCE, the purpose of the circles is not known but most experts believe that it was used for ceremonial/ritual purposes.

The village has grown up amongst the stones and the main A4361 road runs through the middle of the village and the stones.  I prefer Avebury to the better known Stonehenge as in Avebury you are able to walk freely amongst all the stones and can still touch them.  I particularly like the fact that the local farmers still graze their animals amongst the stones.  You can read more about the stones here

The local pub, the Red Lion, claims to be one of the most haunted inns in the country.

One of the ghosts is known as Florrie.  The story is that Florrie lived there in the 17th century when her husband went off to fight in the Civil War (1642–1651).  Poor Florrie was murdered by her soldier husband when he returned home unexpectedly to discover her with her lover. The husband killed the lover and stabbed his wife, then threw her body down the well and sealed it with a boulder.  Glassed over and used as a drinks table, this well is now located in the bar area of the pub and Florrie's ghost is said to have been seen emerging from, and disappearing into, the depths of the well!

It is also the only pub in the world to stand in the middle of a ring of Neolithic standing stones!


The true origin of the recipe is unknown but Avebury is one of the villages which claims to have created the Wiltshire Lardy Cake.  Just to be confusing, Lardy Cake is actually a bread enriched with lard, sugar dried fruit and spices. 
image from plum-kitchen.blogspot.co.uk
The 'lard' doesn't sound very appetising but I'd recommend giving it a go as it is a very tasty, though fattening, cake.  It's hard to find the definitive recipe as it is one of those where everyone has their own version but here's a link to one that is very similar to the one my mum used.
Here are the answers to the Wiltshire dialect words:
  • apple-bout = apple dumpling
  • attercop = a spider
  • and that = and so forth/and all that sort of thing

See you tomorrow for the letter B.


  1. Thanks Eileen, I'm really looking forward to learning lots more about my adopted home county.
    Joy xx

  2. Lovely interesting post
    Julie xxxxxxxxxx

  3. What?! They have a tabletop on the well? I love it!! I wish I had known about this spot when I visited England, I would have loved to see the stones and had a drink at that bar. Just wild! I can do without attercops =)

    Happy A-Zing

    AJ's wHooligan in the A-Z Challenge

  4. I wish you hadn't mentioned lard cake, I'm on a diet - lovely, lovely, lovely post. Nice to connect
    Twitter: WriterBizWoman

  5. Eileen, I, too, would prefer Avebury to Stonehenge - wherever a visit can be more authentic. I have enjoyed meeting so many bloggers from the UK and will look forward to all your alphas during A to Z. But nothing could make me drink on that table covering the well. That's just too creepy!

  6. Interesting article :)

    My Contributions to April A-Z challenge 2014

    Story Teller



    My Third Eye



  7. I'm so glad I randomly clicked here for the A-Z. What a lovely story teller you are... short and friendly. The only phrase I got was 'and that'. Avebury sounds like it would be lovely to visit. Maybe a bucket list item for me! Creepy ghost story but I love that the livestock can munch around the stones. It's my first A-Z and I'm happy to meet you.

  8. Hi there. I'm in the A to Z as well. What a wonderful glimpse into Avebury! Can you tell me how/why "attercop" means spider?

    1. I didn't know the origin of the work until I googled it. Here's a link about it:


  9. How fun! I have always wanted to go to England. Someday! Came from A to Z.=)