Update April 2019:
A meeting was held on Friday April 5th 2019 at Bowood House Hotel, chaired by Lord Landsdowne and attended by representatives from the National Trust, Wiltshire Council, Calne Town Council, Cherhill Parish Council, The Great West Way Project and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England. The following points emerged during the discussion:
A Condition and Recommendation report on the Lansdowne Monument was received by the National Trust in January 2018. This report was carried out by conservation surveyors and a more detailed survey will be required to obtain quotations from contractors for repair work.
Planning permission for the current protective scaffolding and netting was not sought initially because of an oversight. The consequence of planning permission being denied now would be the closure of a wider area and requests for footpaths to be closed or diverted.
The National Trust accepts that the repair of the Monument and cost of the repairs are their responsibility. The National Trust surveyor carries out monthly checks on the state of the safety measures installed.
Work to repair the Monument will not begin until work on the Wellington Monument in Somerset has been completed.
A fund-raising effort will be needed before repairs are begun
A detailed repair survey is required before accurate costs can be predicted and tenders invited.
The National Trust recognises the 175th anniversary of the Monument’s construction falls in 2020 and the 400th anniversary of the birth of Sir William Petty (to whom the Monument is dedicated) falls in 2023. Both events offer targets for the completion of repairs.
The National Trust promised to provide information on progress and to keep the local community informed. Another meeting will be held on 11th October 2019 when the National Trust are expected to provide the results of a detailed repair survey.
The monument stands in the south west corner of Oldbury Camp and can be seen for many miles around. Originally bearing no inscriptions the monument caused some confusion. Some supposed it to mark the limits of Bowood estate, others to commemorate the birth of King Edward VII. It was in fact built in 1845 by Lord Lansdowne in memory of his ancestor, Sir William Petty and now bears an inscription to that effect.It is 125ft. high and built of freestone corner-stones filled in with Atworth stones and cost £1,359. In 1915 it was repaired for the first time.
The Monument is currently awaiting restoration
Cherhill White Horse
The White Horse was carved in 1780 by Dr Christopher Alsop. It obviously took great ingenuity to carry out this task. It is said that he took up a position 100yds south of Main Road opposite the lower farm and gave instructions to the workers by shouting through a large trumpet. These two points are at least 1 1/4 miles apart so it is unlikely that voice communications were used, it is more likely that flags were used. He could have used his trumpet from a point about 1/2 mile west of the horse from where it can be seen almost perfectly.
This is one of the finest earth fortifications in Wiltshire. It was originally a British camp although much strengthened by those who subsequently occupied it. Its situation towards the north east is fortified by deep ravines and very indented ground. The principle entrance is thought to have been from the south-east, by an outwork that is still visible. The camp is doubly ditched and contains 25 acres. The circumference of the rampart is 1276 yards or approximately 1167m and the height 50ft or approximately 15m. A bank and ditch intersect the area. The camp appears to have been made use of as a place of residence as well as of defence. The labourers digging for flints within its area threw up numerous fragments of animal bones and rude pottery – the certain marks of habitation.