On 23rd October, the nearest Saturday to King Alfred Day, a handful of us met to visit the churches at Longbridge Deverill and Kingston Deverill, near Warminster. Kingston Deverill's Alfred connection is that it is a possible site of Ecgbert's Stone, where Alfred mustered the men of Wiltshire, Somerset, Hampshire and possibly Dorset against the Vikings before the battle of Ethandun. It has a magnificent Saxon font, restored in 1982, and a banner depicting King Alfred.
Longbridge Deverill doesn't have any known connection to Alfred, but it does have some significance for the Society. The church contains the family tomb of the Thynnes; though Alexander Thynne, a founder of the Society, was cremated and his ashes scattered on his Longleat estate. Illustrated is a monument to Isabella Byng, wife of the 2nd Marquess of Bath. Also, the village was home to the Wessex Brewery, run by former Society member Chaz Hobden, until its recent move to nearby Norton Ferris. However, the George Inn, where we had our lunch, still served its beers.
We were due to hold our AGM there after lunch, but instead, we voted to suspend our constitution and carry on as an informal network instead of a membership organisation. What does that mean in practical terms? Probably not that much. This website will carry on much as before, and we will continue to hold events three times a year. The only things that we will be losing are business meetings, with agendas and minutes. I am currently working on a way to set up one-off and regular donations to our Society's work.