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(āmz`bərē), town, Wiltshire, S central England. Located on Salisbury plain, the town is among the oldest continuously settled locations in Great Britain. In 980 the widow of King Edgar founded Amesbury Abbey, where Queen Guinevere of Arthurian legend is said to have died. StonehengeStonehenge
, group of standing stones on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, S England. Preeminent among megalithic monuments in the British Isles, it is similar to an older and larger monument at Avebury, some 20 mi (30 km) away.
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, the best-known megalithic monument in Britain, Durrington Walls, and many other Neolithic remains are nearby.


(āmz`bĕr'ē, –bərē), town (1990 pop. 14,997), Essex co., NE Mass., on the Merrimack River; inc. 1668. The town's economy relies on light manufacturing. John Greenleaf WhittierWhittier, John Greenleaf
, 1807–92, American Quaker poet and reformer, b. near Haverhill, Mass. Whittier was a pioneer in regional literature as well as a crusader for many humanitarian causes. Early Life

Whittier received a scanty education but read widely.
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 lived there most of his life, and his house is preserved. Josiah BartlettBartlett, Josiah,
1729–95, political leader in the American Revolution, signer of the Declaration of Independence, b. Amesbury, Mass. He practiced medicine in Kingston, N.H.
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 was born in Amesbury.
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Amesbury, an important site of Arthurian legends, is near the pre-Christian site of Stonehenge. Fortean Picture Library.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The town of Amesbury, located about eighty miles west of London, England, lies in an area of ancient and continued holiness. Nearby, on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, is Stonehenge, one of the most ancient megalithic structures. A little to the north is the Avebury stone circle, scene of a religious tradition going back some four thousand years.

Welsh historians believe that during the Middle Ages, a monastery was located in Amesbury, but a consensus seems to have developed that in the time of Ambrosias Aurelianus, uncle to the fabled King Arthur, it was a garrison for troops, and the place was named Ambrosiani after Ambrosias.

In the Arthurian legends, it was in Amesbury that Guinevere, after her affair with Lancelot and banishment following Arthur's death, became a nun and lived out her days. Although modern writers more than earlier scribes seem to emphasize the importance of Amesbury in the Arthurian legends, John Masefield, in his poem, "Gwenivere Tells," has Guinevere remembering:

Anon I made profession, and took vows As nun encloistered: I became Christ's spouse, At Amesbury, as Abbess to the house. I changed my ermines for a goathair stole, I broke my beauty there, with dule and dole, But love remained a flame within my soul.

Thus at Amesbury we find a curious but fairly common occurrence. One religious tradition, in this case the stone-building culture of prehistorical Stonehenge, is superseded by a completely different religious tradition. In this case, it is the legend of King Arthur's court and the search for the grail from Christ's last supper—the legend marking the transition from paganism to Christianity.

The Religion Book: Places, Prophets, Saints, and Seers © 2004 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Above, an Amesbury dining set; inset, the pretty but practical Amesbury display cabinet; above left, the Felicity designer chair; and, left, a stunning Romance bed
RUSTIC CHARM: Romance bed from Barker and Stonehouse BLOOMING LOVELY: Pretty rose designs work well with the shabby chic look, above STYLISH: The Amesbury dining range, left, Amesbury bedside chest, above, and the Felicity chair, below FINISHING TOUCHES: Accesorise with cushions for a shabby chic look TREASURES: Find some treasures at a flea market, above, and add vases of wild flowers to complete the look, far left.
CHARLIE AMESBURY has called for more of the same from Newcastle Falcons as his former Harlequins teammates roll into town on Friday.
The Wiltshire and Dorset bus was stolen from a depot in Amesbury, Wiltshire, after three other buses were damaged in the early hours of June 18.
The youngest of the three is 10 Amesbury Road, Moseley, a thoroughly modern showcase for the Arts & Crafts style in its era, now described as being in 'immaculate condition and beautifully decorated and presented'.
Summary: TEHRAN (FNA)- British counter-terrorism police chief Neil Basu admitted that detectives have thus far failed to confirm whether the toxic agent the couple from Amesbury was allegedly exposed to in late June was the same as the one that was ostensibly used against former Russian intelligence agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March.
Mike Amesbury hosted pupils fromHelsbyHigh School for a visit to the House of Commons recently while they were on a tour of London as part of their studies.
The proposals were revealed by Mike Amesbury, Labour MP for Weaver Vale, in early June as he vowed to fight the move.
Jean Amesbury suffered at least five falls in a five-week stay at Llandough Hospital, Penarth, between March and April last year, her family have said.
Jean Amesbury suffered at least five falls in a five week stay at Llandough Hospital, Penarth, between March and April last year, her family have said.