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Stonehenge Notes made in April, 1876.
EN the 7th of April, 1876, the writer, with his son, Captain Long, Mr. William Cunnington, and Mr. Edwards of Amesbury, visited Stonehenge, with the view of making a careful examination of the circles and ellipses. Mr. Cunnington found that the small stone in the outer circle, opposite to Nos. 5 and 6 on Sir R. Hoare's plan, is not a sarsen, but a syenite, and that it had, probably, been originally a portion of No. 6. This stone should therefore, have been coloured green, instead of yellow. The stone numbered 3 in Hoare's plan has also been incorrectly coloured blue instead of green in the chromolithograph. These alterations can easily be made by hand.
The writer observed a stone which appears hitherto to have escaped notice. It is the stump of that stone of the inner ellipse (behind the altar-stone), which the large upright D 1 in falling, struck; and, by striking, became broken into two parts. It is under the south corner of the upper fragment, 3 feet from No. 25, as No. 25 is 3 feet from No. 24.
It has, hitherto, been the general opinion that the stones of the inner circle had been unhewn; and Mr. Henry Browne, who must have been very familiar with their appearance, describes them in his little work as being "wholly unhewn;" but it is difficult to believe that Nos. 7 and 4 (for instance) have never been touched by flint or metal. The opinion arrived at by the party was, that the syenites had been more or less wrought, but that the horn-stones (so-called) 17, 19, 9, and 11, had not been worked. It is, however, not easy to form a judgment upon this matter, for these stones, being much more brittle than the syenites, would be more subject to the wanton injury of visitors, and having been more sought after for "toade charms," etc. (p. 35), may, perhaps, have been more injured than any of the others.
Mr. Henry Browne was of opinion that the transverse stones of the outer circle "had been fitted together, at their extremities, by corresponding projections and hollows." It was evident to all the party that the ends of those stones which are "in situ” had not been cut down straight as is the case with the transom stones of the trilithons, but that they had had vertical ridges and corresponding grooves, and that some system of dovetailing had been adopted by the builders of Stonehenge. That these projections and grooves should have been considerably "weathered" away is not to be wondered at.
The two stones in front of the stone marked F 1 are evidently fragments of that stone. The remains of the tenon are still visible on the innermost fragment. The three fragments adjoining are, doubtless, those of the transom stone to F 1 and F 2.
The following measurements may be of use and interest. The width of the entrance between A 1 and A 2 is 4 feet 4 inches. The interval between them widens considerably towards the top. Between A 2 and the adjoining stone the width is 3 feet 1 inch; between the latter and stone next it, 3 feet 3 inches; and between the two next standing stones, 2 feet 4 inches. On the other side of A 1 the first interval is 3 feet in width; the second, 3 feet 6 inches; the third, 4 feet; the fourth, 3 feet; the fifth, 3 feet 9 inches; and the sixth and last, 2 feet 8 inches. The interval between No. 7 and the nearest corner of C 2 is 7 feet; between No. 5 and C 1, 13 feet 4 inches; between B 1 and No. 4 (which is 5 feet 4 inches high and 1 foot wide) the interval is 10 feet 5 inches; and between No. 4 and the stone on the opposite side the interval is 9 feet. The large unnumbered prostrate stone next to No. 7 is 17 feet 2 inches long, 5 feet 7 inches wide, and 1 foot in depth above ground; No. 12 is 7 feet 6 inches long; No. 27 is 9 feet 6 inches high; No. 28 is 8 feet 10 inches high; and No. 29 is 7 feet 9 inches high. No. 23 is 7 feet high; No. 22 is 6 feet 9 inches high, and the interval between them is 3 feet 4 inches. The "Altar-stone" was carefully measured both on the inner and outer edges. Its length on the inside is 15 feet 5 inches, and on the outside is 16 feet 2 inches. The space between No. 3 and No. 1 measures 14 feet, and between No.
1 and No. 20, 5 feet. These two stones (each about 6 feet in height) form the inner entrance. The extra distance between these two stones, their peculiar flattened forms and rounded tops, so different from those of the other obelisks, would seem to indicate the regard for effect which those who erected these stones had in this particular portion of the smaller circle. The distance between No. 20 and No. 19 is 2 feet 4 inches; between No. 19 and No. 18, 2 feet 4 inches; and between Nos. 18 and 17 the same. The syenite stone, No. 15, which is of very fine grain, is 7 feet long; the interval between the syenites, Nos. 13 and 14, is 9 feet 8 inches, and between Nos. 14 and 16, 11 feet. The stone of the outer circle, opposite to the small syenite transom (7 feet 6 inches long), next to No. 3, is, on the inside, 13 feet 4 inches high, 5 feet 10 inches wide, and 4 feet in thickness. The upright stone of the outer circle, opposite to No. 6, and adjoining the fragment of syenite belonging to that stone, is 12 feet 6 inches high. The standing stone of the outer circle behind No. 11, (upon which the broad arrow has been cut), is 14 feet high, 7 feet wide, and 4 feet 5 inches thick. The measurements taken of stone F 2, by the writer and his son, in the autumn of 1875, were: height, 16 feet 8 inches; breadth, 7 feet 6 inches; and thickness, 3 feet 10 inches. From the difference between these measurements of that stone and those of Sir Henry James, it may be seen how difficult it is to make the most careful measurements tally. The allowance made by some persons for loss by the rounding off of edges (which weather or violence may have occasioned) will often make a difference of 2 or 3 inches.
The stone on the north-west portion of the vallum is 4 feet high, and 3 feet 6 inches wide at the broadest part.
On the occasion of our visit on the 7th of April last, Mr. Cunnington found, in the ruts of a waggon-track close to Stonehenge, splinters of the syenite-like stone, of the horn-stone (socalled), and of the sarsen stone; and also a small but well-formed chipped flint celt. These specimens were all picked out of the earth just below the turf, where it had been cut through by the wheels. He also picked up, under the large stone resting on No. 9, and under the great sloping stone of the large central trilith, as many as nine
fragments of various stones of the inner circle. These had probably been broken off by visitors.
The writer was under the impression that exposure to the weather on the north side had produced the peculiar appearance of decay on that side in stone F 2 (page 59), but Mr. Cunnington considers that the decayed portions must have been originally of a softer character than that of the body of the stone.
On the arable land adjoining Stonehenge, where the group of barrows 16-22 had been, two chips of sarsen stone were picked up. The site of the "barrow-like" mounds (note, p. 65) was not ascertained.
Mr. Edwards, of Amesbury, has given the following interesting information. In reply to the writer's wish to know how much of the Cursus on the Amesbury side is under cultivation, and when it was first ploughed up, he says: "The piece of down land which was broken up, commencing at the top of the hill, where the Cursus terminates, towards Amesbury, and which extends from thence into the bottom, is fifty acres, and was ploughed up about twenty-five or twenty-six years ago. It commences at the top of the hill, in a line with the two Seven Barrows, and consists of the hanging or slope of the hill down into the bottom called Stonehenge Bottom, and full in our view when we were returning along the line of the Cursus."
To the writer's enquiry when the barrows 15 to 22 (inclusive) were levelled, Mr. Edwards answers: "This was done 28 years ago, and my informant stated that, after it was done, when ploughing there, it was his aim, as well as that of others, to see which could pick up the most chippings. Some of them were granite and others sand stone. Of the granite no use whatever could be made when they took them home, but the sand stone they used for whetting or sharpening reaping-hooks. As to when the farm building adjoining the field in question were erected? That was built 29 years ago."
Mr. Edwards has also most kindly gathered for the writer the following information respecting the successive owners of Stonehenge during the last 250 years:
Sir Laurence Washington, knight.
Charles Duke of Queensberry and Dover.
8. In 1771.
9. In 1778. 10. In 1810. 11. In 1824. 12. In 1826.
Sir Edmund Antrobus, Bart.
13. In 1870. Sir Edmund Antrobus, Bart.
Authorities for the above.
1. In 1620. Mr. Newdick-Refer to Sir Richard Colt Hoare's "History of Ancient Wiltshire," vol. i., pp. 153, 154, and 155. As George Duke of Buckingham made his researches at Stonehenge in the year 1620 and from the information Mr. Aubrey received from Mrs. Trotman that the Duke of Buckingham would have given to Mr. Newdick (the owner of this place) "any rate for it, but he would not accept it," it might be presumed that it belonged to him at the time when the Duke of Buckingham made those researches. 2. In Dawbony or Dowbeny.-In the printed particulars of the Amesbury Estate, drawn up when it was for sale in 1824, mention is made of the Manor of Dawhneys, and from the following it will appear that West Amesbury Estate is the manor that bore that name, on which Stonehenge stands. The name of Dowbeny still exists in the name of a meadow in the parish of Amesbury, situated on the West Amesbury Estate, commonly called Bony Mead, meaning no doubt Dawbony's Mead. In the following remarks there is still further evidence to prove that West Amesbury belonged to Mr. Dawbony.
3. In 1639. Sir Laurence Washington, knight.-In the boundaries of the Manor of Amesbury Earls examined on Monday, the