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Report of the Wiltshire Archæological and
Natural History Society

For the Bear July, 1893-July, 1894.

[Read at the General Meeting of the Society at Marlborough, July 19th, 1894.]

HE Committee has again the pleasure of reporting the continued prosperity of the Society. In spite of times which cannot by any means be regarded as times of prosperity with our Members (who, in an agricultural county like ours, must nearly all be connected more or less directly with the land), our Society has been able to maintain its reputation, its numbers, and its funds. As to its numbers: we had on our books on July 1st, 1894, twentythree Life Members, three hundred and fifty-two Annual Members, and twenty-one Exchange Members, a total of three hundred and ninety-six, as against three hundred and ninety-three on the same date last year. [Eight new Members were elected at the Annual Meeting, raising the total to over four hundred for the first time in the records of the Society.] During the year ending 30th June, 1894, thirty-seven new Members have been elected. There have been nine losses by death during the same period, amongst which we have specially to deplore the loss of the Rev. C. Soames, of Mildenhall, who joined the Society in 1859, was a valued contributor to the pages of the Magazine, and a reliable authority on numismatics. We have also to mention Mr. James Waylen, who has



long been known as the Historian of Marlborough and Devizes. A notice of him and his works appears in the last number of the Magazine. Within the last few days we observe the death of one of our Vice-Presidents, Sir Henry A. Hoare, Bart.; a name which has been prominently connected with Wiltshire archæology for nearly a century. Of resignations we have to record twenty-five, most of those resigning having left the county.

"As to finance, a copy of the accounts (which we must thank our Honorary Auditors for having examined) is printed with the last number of the Magazine. They do not present any exceptional feature, unless we so regard the handsome surplus of £17 10s. received from the Warminster Local Committee last year in aid of the general funds of the Society.

"Numbers 80 and 81 of our Magazine, completing the twentyseventh volume, have been issued since our last Meeting. The character of the papers (some by old friends; some, we are glad to observe, by new) fully maintains its position amongst such county journals. If the cost of producing the present volume is somewhat in excess of the average, this is quite explained by the numerous illustrations, which so materially add to the interest of the papers.

"The lists of additions to the Museum and Library during the year, chiefly by way of donations, are recorded at the end of each number of the Magazine. They include the Romano-British objects from Cold Kitchen Hill, presented by Mr. William Stratton, and a fine specimen of Pleiosaurus, presented by the Swindon Brick and Tile Company. The principal gifts, however, have been bestowed on the Library, which has been enriched by a large number of Wiltshire books, pamphlets, and engravings, partly acquired by exchange for duplicates in the collection and by purchase, but chiefly due to the bequest of Wilts Tracts by the late Mr. James Vaylen, the gifts of Wilts books and pamphlets by Mr. W. C. ton, and of engravings and portraits by Mrs. H. Cunnington rs. These additions, numbering many hundreds of items, an siderable step towards making the Library what it should be a real Library of reference for all Wiltshire matters. The pamph. have been carefully arranged in a more accessible form than before

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by Mr. Goddard. The list of books wanted,' which appears on cover of the last number of the Magazine, is printed in the hope that it may suggest to some of our Members the possibility of filling up some of the gaps which still exist in our collection, more particularly in the matter of biographies and works of natives of Wiltshire. Our desire, however, is not merely to accumulate treasure, but, by means of carefully-compiled catalogues, to make that treasure accessible to our Members. A catalogue of the Library is in hand, prepared by our Hon. Librarian, Mr. Heward Bell, and beyond this the Wilts Bibliography referred to in Mr. Clifford Holgate's paper in vol. xxvi., p. 221, is making progress.

"Mr. W. Cunnington, second to none in qualifications for the task, is engaged in preparing a catalogue of the Stourhead Collections. A new list of Members was printed with the November Magazine.

"At the Annual Congress of Archæological Societies, held at Burlington House, July, 1893, we were represented by Mr. Goddard and Mr. Ponting. Several matters of interest were under discussion, and it seems advisable that our Society should continue to be represented at this meeting.

"The Committee recently applied to the Technical Education Committee of the Wilts County Council for a grant for the County Museum. It was pointed out, in reply, that no grant can be made unless a systematic course of instruction in technical subjects is provided by the Society. The matter will receive further consideration.

"The Committee recommends the election of Mr. Nevil Story Maskelyne, F.R.S., of Basset Down House, as a Vice-President. Mr. Story Maskelyne is a past President of the Society, and it needs no saying that he is one of our most distinguished Members. Mr. Harold Brakspear, of Corsham, if elected to the post of Hon. Local Secretary for the N.W. district, will kindly undertake to represent us and forward our interests.


According to precedent, the Society met last year in the south of the county, at Warminster. An account of this Meeting appears in the last number of the Magazine. A strong and well-organized Local Committee undertook all the arrangements, and the Members

present received a most cordial and hospitable welcome, not only in Warminster itself, but throughout the district. This year the Committee selected Marlborough as its meeting-place, under the auspices of Sir Henry Bruce Meux, Bart., our new President. Marlborough was visited in September, 1859, and in August, 1879. The records of both Meetings contain much of permanent interest to the archaologist. The excursions on both occasions were seriously interfered with by the weather, the storm on Clench Common, on the 13th August, 1879, being a memorable one, even for that year, the wettest of the century. It is to be hoped we may be more favoured in July, 1894. The greater part of the ground to be covered during this Meeting was never visited from Marlborough before. Ramsbury and Aldbourne were visited from Hungerford in 1867, but the records of that Meeting are comparatively brief, and so little in the way of papers describing the places visited on the excursions then made seems to have found its way into the Magazine, that nearly all we hope to see on the first day may be regarded as new to the Society.

"We are fortunate in having with us the historian of the Hundred of Ramsbury, who has most kindly undertaken to act as our guide during the greater part of the day.

"In conclusion, the Committee urges the Members not to relax their efforts. In this county, so remarkable for its antiquities, nobody can for a moment doubt that much yet remains to be discovered and explained who will take the trouble to inspect the collection of most interesting objects arranged in the Town Hall, nearly the whole of which have been brought to light since we last visited Marlborough. As Sir John Lubbock said here in 1879, 'What has been done in comparison with what remains to do is really but a flea-bite in the ocean,' quoting a graphic simile of Sir George Balfour's in the House of Commons a few days before."

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