What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
=How to get there.=–Train from Waterloo. South-Western Railway. =Nearest Station.=–Amesbury (1-1/2 miles from Stonehenge). =Distance from London.=–80 miles. =Average Time.=–3 hours.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 13s. 2d. 8s. 3d. 6s. 7-1/2d. Return 23s. 2d. 14s. 8d. 13s. 3d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"The George Hotel” at Amesbury. “Railway Hotel” (small) at Porton. =Alternative Route.=–Porton Station, 5-1/2 miles, and Salisbury Station, 8 miles from Stonehenge.
One of the earliest and most enduring works of man in the British Islands is to be seen in the circles of giant stones on Salisbury Plain. They stand in two concentric circles. The outer ring of monoliths encloses an inner one of blue stones about half their height. These in turn surround a horseshoe formation consisting of the remains of five great trilithons. Some of these stones have fallen across the flat one known as the altar stone, occupying a central position at the head of the horseshoe. On the 21st of June the sun rises exactly in a line with the centre of the horseshoe and the long earthen avenue leading towards the stones, and thus throws a ray between two of the outer monoliths and touches the altar stone. This orientation on the plan of so many eastern shrines proves that Stonehenge was the temple of some early sun-worshipping race of men in Britain.
Sir Norman Lockyer’s recent observations at the summer solstice have placed the date of erection at about 1680 B.C., and the discovery of flint implements beneath some Roman remains also points to neolithic times. The upright stones and those resting upon them were originally all mortised and tenoned together, and from the fact that no similar stone is found nearer than Marlborough Downs the primitive men must have hauled the stones considerable distances by means of long leather ropes. The small blue stones were possibly brought from Normandy.
Other stone circles and similar remains are to be seen at Avebury, Rollright, and Kit’s Coty House, a few miles from Rochester. Also in Shropshire there is a district rich in stone circles and prehistoric remains. This is in a line north of Bishops Castle and Shelve, and to those who appreciate wild scenery this part of the county may be specially recommended.
Looking towards the east from the altar stone. The point on the horizon where the sun rises on June 21 is indicated by the small stone seen through the arches.]