The Kennet Valley as it was in 1884 - the classic map now framed and hanging in the Kennet Valley Hall for all to see
In the mid-nineteenth century the Reverend Alfred Charles Smith set about compiling an archaeological map of the 100 square miles around the centre of his archaeological world, Avebury. In 1884 after 30 years of walking and riding all over the Downs and villages to note and chart every relevant feature the task was complete and the map published, only to become a primary reference for every archaeologist studying this historically rich area even to the current day.
Today, thanks to the efforts of the Kennet Valley Heritage group a framed copy of the Kennet Valley area of the map is resplendent on the wall of the Kennet Valley Hall in Lockeridge.
The project was undertaken by three of the Heritage Group - Brian Rayment, Susanne Stedman and Mary Spender, who painstakingly completed the research, printing and framing of this notable archaeological document. The section now hanging on the Hall wall covers the Upper Kennet Valley area, from East Kennett to Mildenhall. It is a very good-looking map, and hugely informative, displaying every archaeological feature recogniseable in the nineteenth century.
To celebrate and advertise the project, the Heritage Group held a small tea party in the Hall on Friday 4th December. The current director of the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes, David Dawson, kindly cut the red bow around the frame and declared the map to "open”.
To make this possible the Heritage Group received financial support from the Marlborough Area Board and practical assistance from the Wiltshire Museum covering research and the high quality photographing of the map and the chosen illustrations.