The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian


Stone Circle


A considerable change has taken place in the position of the stones which form this extraordinary relique of the ancient superstitions of our Countrymen. This change took place on the 3d instant, and is attributed to the rapid thaw which on that day succeeded a very hard frost. The following is an Extract of a Letter from Salisbury on the subject:

"On the 3d inst. some people employed at the plough, near Stonehenge, remarked that three of the larger stones had fallen, and were apprised of the time of their fall by a very sensible concussion, or jarring, of the ground. These stones prove to be the western of those pairs, with their imposts, which have had the appellation of Trilithons. They had long deviated from its true perpendicular. There were, originally, five of these trilithons, two of which are, even now, still remaining in their ancient state. It is remarkable, that no account has ever been recorded of the falling of the others, and, perhaps, no alteration has been made in the appearance of Stonehenge for three centuries prior to the present tremendous downfall. The impost, which is the smallest of the three stones, is supposed to weigh 20 tons. They all now lie prostrate on the ground, and have received no injury from their aerial separation."

They fell flat westward, and levelled with the ground a stone also of the second circle, that stood in the line of their precipitation. From the lower ends of the supporters being now exposed to view, their prior depth in the ground is satisfactorily ascertained; - it appears to have been about six feet. The ends, however, having been cut oblique, neither of them was, on one side, more than a foot and an half deep. Two only of the five trilithons, of which the adytum consisted, are now, therefore, in their original position. The destruction of any part of this grand oval we must peculiarly lament, as it was composed of the most stupendous materials of the whole structure.
From the 'True Briton', January 18, 1797.

Elsewhere that month, in the London Packet, no doubt with what passes for humour 200 years ago: "The falling of the two upright stones, on the 3d of this month, at Stonehenge, which had been interpreted into an omen of the downfall of the Monarchy, is found to have been owing to the burrowing of a few rabbits. Underminers of every description cannot be watched with too much vigilance."
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
25th August 2010ce
Edited 25th August 2010ce

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