What memories do you hold
You who stand
Imposingly grey and
Impervious to all
Except the rain

Do you remember
The first clearance
Of Forests that
Strode proud across
The chalk downs

Those first tentative
Fields sown with wheat
Ploughshares and pottery
The first burials
The Kennett longbarrow?

Who was the king then?
When you were first raised
How many men died
As they fought
To make you a temple

Do you recall
Those first pilgrims?
Who did they worship
Back then before
The new faith?

Do you remember
The red cloaked
Foreign legions
Marching across
Their new won land

What happened
Those barren years
Abandoned after Rome left
So few people
And none worshipping

Old Gods forgotten
Your status diminished
New centres of life
Man found new ways
Places to worship the new God

When did the new folk come?
Building houses
Robbing you
smaller sisters broken
to build a new place to worship

Did you wonder why
when you were already here?
Millennia of worship
Beneath their feet
And all around

So we stand here today
You and I
So cold despite the heat
Of the noonday sun
My understanding overwhelmed

What of us modern pilgrims?
Our oak leaved badges catching the sun
Each journeying in a day
Distances beyond the dreams
Of those who built you

So I visit again
Renewing my faith in you
Guardians of human memory
You who have seen all
The ages of man

The Gate Stones and a Modern Road Sign at Avebury.

The Gate Stones and a Modern Road Sign at Avebury.

Avebury is a world heritage site located in Wiltshire. Constructed over four and a half thousand years ago it is a place where I find some feeling of human continuity within the landscape and that holds spiritual meaning for me. If you get the chance to be a modern pilgrim, take it

Martin Addison – 22/08/2013



  1. we made our own pilgrimage to Avebury in 1979, with out three little boys … we all loved it, and stood in awe with those ancient giants … marvellous poem and post thank you Martin πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Christine- I fear that I have barely done the experience justice. It’s hard to find words to express the feelings I get when I’m there. Avebury and St Albans Abbey hold so much that arouse spiritual feelings in me – I just struggle to explain why!

      • perhaps past associations with those places Martin? when we travelled to the UK as a young family we found ourselves in all sorts of strange places, like Iona and Avebury … why would we go there? I wonder too πŸ™‚

  2. We spent one wonderful day in Avebury – it is a magical place!

  3. Awesome–in every sense of the word! You were truly inspired, and I can see why! I easily understand why you’d find this remarkable spot poetic.

  4. WoW!!! I love those awesome rocks. They’d look great in my garden. Are these any connection to Stonehenge?

    • Tony – sorry for the late response. Avebury and Stonehenge are generally viewed as being part of the same system of worship in the Wiltshire area. Although Stonehenge is more advanced in its construction with the trilithons the consensus is that Avebury was the more important religious site. There are significant numbers of henges and barrows in the area as well as the mysterious Silbury Hill which is connected to Avebury by an avenue that leads in through the gate stones in the photo.

  5. Now looking with a different eye, the kind that wants to be there soon!

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