Stonehenge, A Temple Restor'd to the British Druids by William Stukeley
"Like Lockyer's Stonehenge and Other British Stone Monuments Astronomically Considered, William Stukeley's 1740 study of Stonehenge stands out among the huge number of books on the subject. Stukeley was a pioneer preservationist. He lamented the callous treatment of the majestic ruins both by tourists and landholders. He coined the term ...
Stonehenge, A Temple Restor'd to the British Druids
by William Stukeley
"Like Lockyer's Stonehenge and Other British Stone Monuments Astronomically Considered, William Stukeley's 1740 study of Stonehenge stands out among the huge number of books on the subject. Stukeley was a pioneer preservationist. He lamented the callous treatment of the majestic ruins both by tourists and landholders. He coined the term 'trilithon' for the doorway-like arrangement of three stones, now common in the literature about megalithic architecture. Stukeley was one of the first to make accurate drawings of the site.
Stukeley's Stonehenge was intended to be the first volume in a comprehensive study of universal history, which he never completed. He believed a pure form of Christianity was the original religion of mankind, which had been subverted by idolatry, and finally restored by Jesus. . They became the progenitors of the Celts, founded the Druid religion and built the mysterious standing stones..
It is remarkable that two centuries later Lockyer also propounded a theory that Stonehenge was built by immigrants from the Near East. Also of note is Stukeley's discovery of vast linear features in the vicinity of Stonehenge. This of course anticipated Watkins' ley lines. He points out one case where these lines have Roman roads constructed over them, indicating that they could not be Roman in origin.
He arrived at this date by assuming that the builders had a knowledge of the compass, and by extrapolating variations in magnetic north, which he incorrectly assumed occillated in a regular pattern (today we know that the magnetic North pole moves somewhat at random).
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"The Rev. Dr. William Stukeley FRS, FRCP, FSA (November 7, 1687 - March 3, 1765) was an English antiquary who pioneered the archaeological investigation of Stonehenge and Avebury and was one of the founders of field archaeology.
He was born at Holbeach in Lincolnshire. After taking his M.B. degree at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, he went to London and studied medicine at St Thomas's Hospital. In 1710, he started in practice in Boston, Lincolnshire, moving back in 1717 to London. In 1719 he took his M.D. degree and in 1720 became a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, publishing in the same year his first contribution to antiquarian literature. His principal works, elaborate accounts of Stonehenge and Avebury, appeared in 1740 and 1743. These were supposed to be the first of a multi-volume universal history. Stukeley proposed that an ancient patriarchial religion was the original religion of mankind. Stukeley believed that the Druids and the early Christians were examples of this religion. Stukeley himself was a Protestant.
His work on Stonehenge is one of the first to attempt to date the monument (source: Gerald S. Hawkins, Stonehenge Decoded, 1965). He proposed that the builders of Stonehenge knew about magnetism, and had aligned the monument with magnetic north. Stukeley used some incomplete data about the variation of the North Magnetic Pole; he extrapolated that it oscillated in a regular pattern.
He wrote copiously on other supposed Druid remains, becoming familiarly known as the "Arch-Druid." In 1729 he took holy orders, and, went on to hold two livings in Lincolnshire, including that of the parish of All Saints, Stamford, Lincolnshire, where he did a considerable amount of further research, not least on the town's lost Eleanor Cross.