01. The Calne Fates

The Calne Fates
The Calne Fates

In 2017 it was noticed that a rectangular block of stone, which had been largely overlooked in an area of the school grounds, had a hollow relief on one of its faces. Following this discovery, the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes undertook an investigation.

After conservation and scientific analysis alongside historical research by a team of experts, the stone was identified as being Roman in origin, probably from the second half of the second century. Carved from a shelly limestone typical of the south Cotswold area, it has been possible to identify the quarry outside Corsham from which the stone came.
The relief has three standing female figures representing The Fates, whose mythology derives from the Greek Moirai. On the left is Klotho holding a distaff from which she spins the thread of life, in the centre Atropos holding the scales of equity in her right hand, and on the right Lachesis reading from a scroll which is the record of a life lived and now ended. A similar depiction of The Fates has been found on a stone altar in Altenstadt in Germany, and although they are seen in wall paintings and mosaics on the Continent, few others have been found in sculpture, making this a significant and exciting find. The sculpture may be from a grand tomb. Along one edge are markings, which could be an inscription, and with them a series of unexplained drilled holes. These may hold more clues as to the stone’s origin. Research is continuing but the sculpture seems to suggest a sophisticated culture in the society of central southern Britain with an interest in classical Greek iconography and myth.