Antiquarians: Dr William Stukeley 1687-1765

7 11 2013

The Heritage Journal

Described by Professor Ronald Hutton as “probably… the most important of the early forerunners of the discipline of archaeology”, William Stukeley was born this day in 1687 at Holbeach in Lincolnshire.

Although his father was a lawyer, medicine was William’s initial preferred area of study, which he followed at St Thomas’ Hospital in London after taking a degree at Cambridge. He returned to Lincolnshire to practice in 1710, where he forged friendships with the likes of Isaac Newton and William Wake (who was later to become Archbishop of Canterbury). At this time he also began his long distance travels around Britain, before returning to London once more in 1717. In London he joined several societies, including the Royal College of Physicians the Freemasons and the Society of Antiquaries – where he served as it’s first Secretary, a post he held for nine years. He also continued his travels in this…

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