The Ancient And Early History Of Wiltshire

Stonehenge

Wiltshire is home to one of the most culturally significant and highly recognised landmarks in the history of the world: ancient Stonehenge. The area where the monolithic stones reside was home to people tImage result for Stonehengehroughout the pre-Roman eras, including the Neolithic and Bronze Age. These ancient Britons had large settlements which they built in the downland and hills of southern England. These settlements once covered the county of Wiltshire.

Recent evidence has shown that a great gathering took place during the Summer Solstice which culminated in large crowds performing rituals at the site of Stonehenge. It is up for debate what the nature of these ceremonies were. One popular theory is that it was for praise of a Sun God. This would mean that Pagan beliefs could have originated from early man’s Stonehenge rituals. It was not just southern Britons who went to this gathering. People from as far as Wales and even Scotland came for the mass event. It is comparable to modern day music festivals in the scale that this gathering had.

Saxon Era

Wiltshire was an important geographical area for Saxon Britain of the 6th and 7th century. It represented the western tip of Saxon territory. The Somerset Levels helped to stop any possible enemy advancement. Wiltshire was the first line of defence in case of attempted conquest. In 675 the county was the site of the alleged Battle of Bedwyn. Whether this bloody event took place is up for debate. However, skeletons with flint weapons have been unearthed to help substantiate the possibility that the battle is more than just a legend.

What we do know is that in 878 Wiltshire was invaded by the Danes. Eventually the county came into the possession of the church and crown after the Norman Conquest. Wiltshire has been conquered by numerous ancient peoples throughout history.