Freemasons and Stonehenge. The Masonic Connection.

14 12 2016

As you might expect for such an imposing stone monument, people have sometimes associated Stonehenge with Freemasonry.

Oddly there is actually not much in the way of direct evidence that the Brotherhood ever took much interest in it apart from the odd article in ACQ (“Ars Quatuor Coronatorum”) discussing various aspects of its construction and history.

Various attempts have been made down the years to find a link between Druidism and Freemasonry with some authors claiming that the Druids were the original basis for it – notably G.S. Faber (“Origins of Pagan Idolatry”, 1816), Winwood Reade (“The Veil of Isis”, 1861) and Dudley Cory-Wright (“Druidism – The Ancient Faith of Britain”, 1924).

masons-camberwellThere’s even some graffiti that refers to masons – on the southwest side of the tallest stone still standing these lines appear:

           (J.DAY           )

1802    (                       ) MASONS CAMBERWELL

            (W.LAW         )

… although it’s not clear whether these are stone masons or Freemasons. Clearly they were equipped with excellent quality chisels.

Several of the Druid Orders that sprang up from the 18th Century onwards had Freemasonic roots – whether due to their founders being Freemasons or through the orders’ individual philosophies being quasi-masonic – and one was quite definitely and deliberately masonic in outlook.

That was the Ancient and Archaeological Order of Druids, founded by Wentworth Little (a Freemason) in 1874, whose members all had to have achieved the degree of Master Mason and it was set up specifically to study the alleged links between Druidism and Freemasonry. Winston Churchill was initiated into this order in 1908 at Blenheim Palace.

There are two notable Freemasons who’ve been part of the story ofchurchill Stonehenge.

The first is William Stukeley, the 18th Century Antiquarian who identified the Greater Cursus as a monument (and thought it was probably a Roman racecourse – hence the name he gave it). Stukeley is largely responsible for popularising the idea that Stonehenge is an ancient Druid temple.

The second is Sir Cecil Chubb, who became a Mason in Salisbury at Lodge Elias de Derham, No. 586, on 26 October 1905. 10 years later he purchased Stonehenge at auction from the estate of the Antrobus family for the sum of £6,600, apparently on a whim (it’s said he went to the auction to buy some chairs). In 1918 he gifted Stonehenge and the surrounding 31 acres of downland to “the Nation” and was rewarded with a knighthood.

Finally there’s a very obscure Stonehenge masonic link that involves Sir Laurence Washington, the great great great grandfather of the first President of the USA – renowned Mason, George Washington.

Sir Laurence owned Stonehenge in the early 17th Century and it passed down to his son, the Rev. Lawrence Washington. It is reported that on his deathbed the Rev. Washington said:

“Embedded in the Ancient’s Concrete mixture of 1 part Bluestone and 3 parts Limestone cement, four feet (4 ft, 1.2 m) below my Helestone in Wilts, is my brass Altar of Burnt Offering (5c-5c-3c) containing my Seven (7) golden Tabernacle relics:

My gold Mercy Seat (2.5c-1.5c), my gold Ark of the Testimony (2.5c-1.5c-1.5c), my gold Table for the Shewbread (2c-1c-1.5c), my gold Candlestick, my gold Ephod-Girdle, my gold Breastplate, and my gold Altar of Incense (1c-1c-2c), are there.”

There appears to be only a single source for this story – one Garry Denke – and if you eris-symbolGoogle his name you’ll find that his Stonehenge Armageddon Prospect campaign to dig up these relics from beneath the Heelstone has appeared on forums and mailing lists all over the Internet.
Is Garry in possession of information known only to him and a shadowy conspiracy of hidden societies? Or is Stonehenge simply so ineffable that extra mysteries are constantly attracted to it?

I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.
Article by guest blogger and local Stonehenge historian Simon Banton

What is freemasonry?

Freemasonry means different things to each of those who join. For some, it’s about making new friends and acquaintances. For others it’s about being able to help deserving causes – making a contribution to family and society. But for most, it is an enjoyable hobby.

one-dollar

The All Seeing Eye is pictured on the $1 note

Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations. It teaches self-knowledge through participation in a progression of ceremonies. Members are expected to be of high moral standing and are encouraged to speak openly about Freemasonry. The following information is intended to explain Freemasonry as it is practised under the United Grand Lodge of England, which administers Lodges of Freemasons in England and Wales and in many places overseas.

Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Its members are taught its principles (moral lessons and self-knowledge) by a series of ritual dramas – a progression of allegorical two-part plays which are learnt by heart and performed within each Lodge – which follow ancient forms, and use stonemasons’ customs and tools as allegorical guides.

Freemasonry instils in its members a moral and ethical approach to life: its values are based on integrity, kindness, honesty and fairness. Members are urged to regard the interests of the family as paramount but, importantly, Freemasonry also teaches concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need.  More information

Are you a Freemason and can you share any information about Stonehenge and the Masonic connection?  We would love to hear from you.

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Stonehenge and the Moon #LunarPhase

13 12 2016

Ancient peoples had the benefit of dark skies and experienced the full spectacle of the starry heavens. The Moon gave light at night and would have been particularly useful in the two weeks centred on full Moon. The regular monthly cycle of lunar phases provided a convenient measure of time, upon which many ancient calendars were based.

Was it a Neolithic calendar? A solar temple? A lunar observatory? A calculating device for predicting eclipses? Or perhaps a combination of more than one of these? In recent years
Stonehenge has become the very icon of ancient astronomy, featuring in nearly every discussion on the subject.
A more informed picture has been obtained in recent years by combining evidence from archaeology and astronomy within the new interdiscipline of archaeoastronomy – the
study of beliefs and practices concerning the sky in the past and the uses to which people’s knowledge of the skies were put.

2017 Lunar / Moon phases.

First quarter 5 January 2017 19:47:41
Full moon 12 January 2017 11:35:12
Last quarter 19 January 2017 22:14:21
New moon 28 January 2017 00:08:19
First quarter 4 February 2017 04:19:47
Full moon 11 February 2017 00:33:58
Last quarter 18 February 2017 19:35:13
New moon 26 February 2017 15:00:15
First quarter 5 March 2017 11:33:38
Full moon 12 March 2017 14:54:49
Last quarter 20 March 2017 16:01:29
New moon 28 March 2017 03:59:26
First quarter 3 April 2017 19:40:54
Full moon 11 April 2017 07:09:17
Last quarter 19 April 2017 11:00:05
New moon 26 April 2017 13:18:11
First quarter 3 May 2017 03:48:10
Full moon 10 May 2017 22:43:56
Last quarter 19 May 2017 01:35:36
New moon 25 May 2017 20:46:22
First quarter 1 June 2017 13:43:00
Full moon 9 June 2017 14:11:15
Last quarter 17 June 2017 12:35:01
New moon 24 June 2017 03:32:43
First quarter 1 July 2017 01:51:47
Full moon 9 July 2017 05:08:31
Last quarter 16 July 2017 20:27:38
New moon 23 July 2017 10:47:26
First quarter 30 July 2017 16:23:57
Full moon 7 August 2017 19:12:47
Last quarter 15 August 2017 02:16:51
New moon 21 August 2017 19:31:34
First quarter 29 August 2017 09:14:19
Full moon 6 September 2017 08:04:55
Last quarter 13 September 2017 07:26:44
New moon 20 September 2017 06:30:46
First quarter 28 September 2017 03:55:09
Full moon 5 October 2017 19:41:56
Last quarter 12 October 2017 13:27:15
New moon 19 October 2017 20:12:38
First quarter 27 October 2017 23:23:17
Full moon 4 November 2017 05:24:29
Last quarter 10 November 2017 20:38:22
New moon 18 November 2017 11:42:52
First quarter 26 November 2017 17:03:28
Full moon 3 December 2017 15:48:30
Last quarter 10 December 2017 07:53:02
New moon 18 December 2017 06:31:29
First quarter 26 December 2017 09:20:24

Stonehenge Links:
Astro Moon Calendar shows phases of the Moon each day, astronomical events and astrological forecast for the year.
Stonehenge and Ancient Astronomy. Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site
Stonehenge Full Moon Guided Walking Tours.  Explore the landscape with a local historian and astronomer.

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Druid Leader King Arthur Uther Pendragon, Head of the Loyal Arthurian Warband.

10 12 2016

King Arthur Uther Pendragon is the Chosen Chief and titular Head of the Loyal Arthurian Warband, a highly political modern Druid order that campaigns on a variety of issues primarily to do with Stonehenge.

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These issues include protesting against the inclusion of human remains in English Heritage’s visitor centre exhibition, championing the right of celebrants to freely attend Solstices and Equinoxes at Stonehenge without having to “pay to pray” and calling for the return of the cremated remains that have been excavated from the Aubrey Holes and removed from the site by archaeologists.

He’s also got a long history as an eco-warrior and civil rights activist, protesting against road developments (notably the Newbury Bypass and Twyford Down) and of standing as an independent Parliamentary candidate for the Salisbury constituency.

When the media are looking for a soundbite from the rapidly growing pagan community in the UK, they invariably call Arthur and as a result the perception of many of the public is that he is the King of all the Druids. This tends to annoy some other people in the pagan and Druid community who resent the implication that Arthur speaks for all of them. Arthur, however, doesn’t claim this for himself.

What Arthur does believe is that he’s the modern reincarnation of the archetypal King Arthur of legend – returned to do battle for Truth, Honour and Justice in Britain’s hour of need.

arthur-closeupIn 1986 he changed his name from John Rothwell (ex biker and ex Army serviceman) by deed poll and he is unique in that his passport – in the name of Arthur Uther Pendragon – shows him wearing his crown.

The sword that he carries – Excalibur, naturally – is one of the originals made for the film of the same name. Its previous owner initially refused to part with it, on the basis that he’d only sell if the real King Arthur showed up to claim it. Arthur promptly presented his passport, much to the surprise of the owner!

His life story is too involved and full of startling magical coincidence to go into here but his biography “The Trials of Arthur” (C. J. Stone and A. U. Pendragon, Element Books, 2003) is worth reading if you want to better understand the man and his motivation.

After the government shut down the Stonehenge Free Festival with the infamous and appalling police violence of the Battle of the Beanfield in 1985, an exclusion zone was established around Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice complete with roadblocks, razor wire, helicopters, horses and dogs. Years of conflict between the festival community and the authorities followed.

Arthur was a key figure in the campaign to re-open Stonehenge to celebrants and eventually took the government to the European Court in 1998, claiming that the exclusion zone breached his freedom of thought, conscience, religion and freedom of expression, in contravention of Articles 9, 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The exclusion zone was lifted in 1999 and in 2000 the first of the Summer Solstice Managed Open Access events took place, with around 5000 people attending a celebration through the night in pouring rain.

arthur-ceremony

These open accesses have continued ever since at Solstices and Equinoxes and it is doubtful that they would have ever begun if not for the campaigning of Arthur and others.

In the great British tradition of eccentrics, Arthur stands out proudly – he is the grit in the oyster, a thorn in the side of bureaucracy and passionate about the causes he champions.

You may or may not agree with him, you may like or dislike him, but you can’t deny that he gets out there and tries to change things in the face of almost overwhelming odds.

Without him the world would be a much less colourful place – as a nation, we could do with more of his kind.

Article by guest blogger and local Stonehenge historian Simon Banton

Loyal Arthurian Warband website: http://www.warband.org.uk
“The Trials of Arthur” Book review
Follow King Arthur on Twitter
King Arthur live periscope broadcast at the Autumn Equinox
King Arthur and Stonehenge images on Flickr

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Winter Solstice Celebrations at Stonehenge: 21st December 2016

1 12 2016

English Heritage will once again welcome people to Stonehenge to celebrate the Winter Solstice. Sunrise is just after 8am on Wednesday 21st December and visitors will be able to access the monument as soon as it is light enough to do so safely. Please read the information below before planning your visit.

frosty-sunrise-henge

PRACTICAL INFORMATION:

DATE AND TIMINGS
WEDNESDAY 21st DECEMBER 2016
MONUMENT FIELD OPENS: 07.45am (approximately, depending on light levels)
MONUMENT FIELD CLOSES: 10am

Please note, access to Stonehenge for Winter Solstice is free. Parking charges apply.

GETTING HERE:

Parking for Winter Solstice is very limited and we cannot guarantee that you will be able to park near to Stonehenge. If you are planning to travel by car, wherever you park there may be a 30 minute walk to the Monument. We strongly recommend car sharing or using public transport.

Car Sharing – Request or offer a lift to Solstice at Stonehenge

Travel by busSalisbury Reds buses will be running from 06:30 from Salisbury (New Canal, Stop U and Salisbury Rail Station). Check timetable.

Blue Badge Parking – Blue badge parking is in the visitor centre car park and permits must be booked in advance. There is accessible transport to the monument field from the visitor centre beginning at approximately 6.30am. Permits available from Solstice.Stonehenge@english-heritage.org.uk

Parking and parking charges Limited parking is available in the winter solstice car parks, which will open at 5.30am on the 21st December.

As you approach Stonehenge, there will be signs to direct you to the car park – please ensure that you follow these. Please do not arrive early as there is no waiting on the roads in the area and you will be moved on.

Parking may involve a shuttle journey to the visitor centre and wherever you park there may be a 30 minute walk.

  • Cars, private hire minibuses and live-in vehicles £5
  • Motorbikes £2
  • Commercial coaches £50

The car parking charge is designed to encourage people to car share and will help the charity offset  the costs of providing additional staffing and lighting in the car parks.

Please note, car parking charges apply to all users of the Winter Solstice car parks, including Blue Badge holders, and members of English Heritage and National Trust.

Motorists have access to a park and ride shuttle from the off-site solstice car parking to the visitor centre. A shuttle will also be provided between the visitor centre and Stonehenge, however visitors are asked to note that disabled people have priority on this bus and should therefore be prepared for a 30 minute walk, in low light, from parking areas to the monument.

We cannot guarantee entry to the car parks and recommend coming by public transport as cars will be turned away when the car parks are full.

CONDITIONS OF ENTRY

Access to Stonehenge for solstice is subject to the Conditions of Entry – please read these before deciding whether to attend.

COME PREPARED

Stonehenge is in a field on Salisbury Plain and the weather in December will be cold and may be wet and windy. Even if it isn’t raining, the ground will be wet from the dew. There may also be frost.

Please be prepared for a 30 minute walk (in low light or darkness), from the bus drop off and from parking areas to the monument. You are strongly advised to wear warm and waterproof clothing and footwear and bring a torch with you.

Toilets at the Monument Field will only be available once the access period begins. There are no catering facilities in the monument field, however the café at the visitor centre is open for hot drinks and breakfast rolls from 6am.

Please note that there are no other amenities or facilities available to visitors until the Monument Field opens.

Please visit the official English Heritage website for full details.

Solstice Events are offering their usual small group Winter Solstice guided tour from London and Bath, ideal if you do not have your own transport and want to learn more about the history and  mystery of Stonehenge and the surrounding landscape. Visit their website to book.

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Amesbury to Stonehenge Solstice Lantern Parade 2016

30 11 2016

The annual lantern parade is back again this year on the 20th December 2016 starting at the Amesbury History Centre 4:45pm.

As usual the route will take the procession through the beautiful grounds of the Amesbury Abbey where we will stop for mince pies and mulled wine before making our way to the ancient spring where the solstice lantern will be waiting for us and our resident druid Frank Somners will perform a service.

amesburylantern-1

Amesbury Lantern Procession along the original “Avenue”

The fading solstice light at Stonehenge is taken and put into the solstice lantern which is kept alight all night to light the darkest night and then taken back to the stones the next morning to extinguish. This is a tradition that started a few years ago and has grown in popularity year on year.

Come and join us and our ancestors in celebrating the solstice. Lanterns are available from the History Centre for £3.50 each and there will be an afternoon of lantern decorating in the centre on the 20th until 3:30pm

Visit their website for more details

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New discoveries rewrite Stonehenge landscape

29 11 2016

Archaeologists have found new evidence that rewrites the history of the Stonehenge landscape.  One of the newly-discovered sites even predates the construction of the world famous monument itself.

arrow-stones

FASCINATING FINDS: Flint arrow heads give a secure early Neolithic date

The remains, found at Larkhill and Bulford, were unearthed during excavations being carried out before the building of a series of brand new Army houses.

At Larkhill, the discovery of a Neolithic causewayed enclosure – a major ceremonial gathering place some 200 meters in diameter – dating from around 3650 BC radically changes our view of the Stonehenge landscape. About 70 enclosures of this type are known across the UK, although this is only the second discovery in the Stonehenge landscape, with the other further to the northwest at Robin Hood’s Ball on the Salisbury Plain Training Area. In the Wessex region they occur on hilltops and, along with long barrows, are some of the earliest built structures in the British landscape.

FASCINATING FINDS – 700 yrs older than Stonehenge:

The Larkhill enclosure has produced pottery, worked flint, a saddle quern, animal bone and human skull fragments, all placed in the ditches which define the enclosure. Sites of this type were used for temporary settlement, to exchange animals and other goods, for feasting and other ritual activity, including the disposal of the dead. The objects found in the ditches reflect these ceremonial practices. The Larkhill causewayed enclosure is around 700 years older than Stonehenge and is part of a landscape that included other large earth and timber structures such as long barrows and cursus monuments. Its builders shaped the landscape into which the stone circle at Stonehenge was placed, which was already special long before Stonehenge was constructed. The causewayed enclosure at Larkhill shows that they had the social organisation necessary to come together to create significant earthworks, and the resources to support the work, as well as the people to carry it out.

Dr Matt Leivers of Wessex Archaeology told Spire FM

“This is an exciting new find and one that transforms our understanding of this important monumental landscape.”

While part of the site has been investigated, the majority of it lies within the Larkhill Garrison, where it remains unaffected by the current works.

LOOK – PHOTOS: There are more pictures of the finds in the mini gallery below…

UNIQUE DOUBLE HENGE:

At nearby Bulford, archaeologists have found a unique double henge, the only example known in Britain. The earliest phases were created around 2900 BC with circular enclosures formed by ditches dug in segments with openings to the north. In the Early Bronze Age (around 2000 BC) both henges were enclosed within continuous ditches, and perhaps buried beneath barrow mounds. From one of the Bulford henges a skull from a large dog or wolf, perhaps a working companion, a trophy from the hunt, or even a totemic symbol, was recovered.

Martin Brown, Principal Archaeologist for WYG told Spire FM:

“These discoveries are changing the way we think about prehistoric Wiltshire and about the Stonehenge landscape in particular. The Neolithic people whose monuments we are exploring shaped the world we inhabit: They were the first farmers and the first people who settled down in this landscape, setting us on the path to the modern world. It is an enormous privilege to hold their tools and investigate their lives.”

ARMY HOUSING WORKS CONTINUE:

Archaeological work on both sites is being managed and directed by WYG on behalf of Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), with fieldwork undertaken by Wessex Archaeology.

The sites’ development is part of wider plans to accommodate the 4000 additional Service personnel plus their families who will be based on and around Salisbury Plain by 2019 under the Army Basing Programme. In total, the MOD is planning to invest more than £1 billion in the area which will provide more than 900 new homes for Service families, over 2,600 new bed spaces for single soldiers and the construction, conversion or refurbishment of 250 other buildings within bases, such as offices, garages, workshops and Mess facilities.

Find out more about WYG and the work at Bulford and Larkhill here: www.wyg.com

Read the full story (source) on the SPIRE FM website

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Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2016: Travel Trade News

26 11 2016

Arrangements for Groups on Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st December

Stonehenge closes to visitors at the usual time of 5pm on Tuesday 20th December ahead of the annual Winter Solstice celebrations on the morning of Wednesday 21st December.

stonehengewinter

The last timed-ticket admission for pre-booked groups is the usual time of 3pm, providing a 2-hour window for groups arriving at this time to view the monument and enjoy the exhibition and other facilities in the visitor centre.

All coaches and minibuses and their passengers must be off-site by 5pm as usual.

Stonehenge re-opens to visitors from 11.30am on Wednesday 21 December.

Coach Parking for Winter Solstice 2016

Parking for coaches and minibuses bringing visitors for the Winter Solstice will cost £50 per vehicle and is provided from 6am until 10am in the Stonehenge Coach Park.

Coach and minibus parking for Winter Solstice is limited and tour operators and group travel organisers should contact the Stonehenge Bookings Team from today to book coach or minibus parking. Booking is essential.

There will be a number of temporary road closures in the local area. There will be no access to Byway 12 throughout the Winter Solstice access period.

Further Information for Winter Solstice

Access to Stonehenge for solstice is subject to the Conditions of Entry which we would ask tour operators, group leaders and drivers to ensure their group members are aware of and adhere to.

Stonehenge is in a field in the middle of Salisbury Plain and the weather in December will be cold and wet. Even if it isn’t raining, the ground will be wet from the dew. There may also be frost. Sensible footwear and warm, waterproof clothing are essential.

There is at least a 30 minute walk (in low light or darkness), from the coach park to the monument. Visitors are therefore strongly advised to wear strong, waterproof footwear and bring a torch with you.

Toilets at the monument field will only be available once the access period begins. There are no catering facilities in the monument field, however the café at the visitor centre is open for hot drinks and breakfast rolls from 6am.

On Wednesday 21 December, sunrise is at 8.09am.

The monument field will open at approximately 7.45am, depending on light levels and will close at 10am.

Stonehenge re-opens to day visitors from 11.30am on Wednesday 21st December.

Please visit the official English Heritage website for more details

Solstice Events are offering their usual small group Winter Solstice guided tour from London and Bath, ideal if you do not have your own transport. Visit their website

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