Stonehenge is also mentioned within Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth said that Merlin
|A giant helps Merlin build Stonehenge. From a manuscript of the Roman de Brut by Wace in the British Library (Egerton 3028). This is the oldest known depiction of Stonehenge.
the wizard directed its removal from Ireland, where it had been constructed on Mount Killaraus by Giants, who brought the stones from Africa. After it had been rebuilt near Amesbury, Geoffrey further narrates how first Ambrosius Aurelianus, then Uther Pendragon, and finally Constantine III, were buried inside the ring of stones. In many places in his Historia Regum Britanniae Geoffrey mixes British legend and his own imagination; it is intriguing that he connects Ambrosius Aurelianus with this prehistoric monument, seeing how there is place-name evidence to connect Ambrosius with nearby Amesbury.
According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, the rocks of Stonehenge were healing rocks which Giants brought from Africa to Ireland for their healing properties. These rocks were called The Giant’s Dance. Aurelius Ambrosias (5th century), wishing to erect a memorial to the nobles (3000) who had died in battle with the Saxons and were buried at Salisbury, chose (at Merlin’s advice) Stonehenge to be their monument. So the King sent Merlin, Uther Pendragon (Arthur’s father), and 15,000 knights to Ireland to retrieve the rocks. They slew 7,000 Irish. As the knights tried to move the rocks with ropes and force, they failed. Then Merlin, using “gear” and skill, easily dismantled the stones and sent them over to Britain, where Stonehenge was dedicated. Shortly after, Aurelius died and was buried within the Stonehenge monument, or “The Giants’ Ring of Stonehenge”.
Among the many legends connected with this famous site is one telling of its construction by Merlin. He was asked by Arthur's father, King Uther Pendragon, to construct a fitting memorial for his brother Ambrosius and the War Lords of Britain felled by Saxon treachery in the massacre known as the Night of the Long Knives. Merlin journeyed
to Ireland in search of the fabled Giant's Dance, a circle of stones which were believed to possess curative properties if water in which they had been washed was used to bathe the sick.
After a great battle, Merlin conveyed the stones by magic to the shore of the sea, then floated them on rafts across to Britain and set them up on the plain near Salisbury. It has been suggested that this story may contain a distant memory of the method by which the ancient blue-stones, quarried in the Prescelly Mountains far to the north, were brought by sea to the mouth of the River Avon and then taken inland on huge wooden rollers to their present site. Despite numerous theories, which claim Stonehenge to be anything from an ancient observatory to a Druid temple, little is known about the true origin or purpose of this mighty circle of stones.
The Modern Day King Arthur
Arthur Uther Pendragon (born John Timothy Rothwell, April 5, 1954) is a British eco-campaigner, neo-druid leader, media personality, and self-declared reincarnation of King Arthur, a name by which he is also known.
A former soldier and biker, he has described receiving a spiritual revelation at Stonehenge in 1976, nforming him that he was King Arthur reborn. Changing his name to Arthur Uther Pendragon, he became what he calls a "renunciate" - refusing to live on state benefits, he travels from place to place, relying on the hospitality of friends and well-wishers. As founder and leader of the Loyal Arthurian Warband, he has been involved in numerous campaigns, demonstrations, and environmental protest camps, and has been arrested and imprisoned many times. He was also involved with the campaign for public access to Stonehenge during the 1990s. He says his role is "to unite the Celts and fight for truth, honour and justice."
A well-known and leading figure within the British Neopagan movement, he is a regular attender at Pagan conferences and camps all over the country, where he often gives talks. Among his various offices within Druidry, he is Honoured Pendragon of the Glastonbury Order of Druids, Official Swordbearer of the Secular Order of Druids, Member of the Council of British Druid Orders, and Swordbearer to the Cotswold Order of Druids.
He is a self-proclaimed English eccentric who says that helps him in his political work. In the General Election of May 2005, Arthur ran as an independent candidate in Winchester, achieving 581 votes. As of July 2010, Arthur Pendragon is conducting a picket of Stonehenge to complain about its alleged mismanagement by English Heritage.
Following an eviction notice, he was meant to have left the site on 3 May 2009, but has so far refused to leave, stating "I am not going to go, I am battening down the hatches and continuing my lawful right to protest and my equal right to religious practice."
|King Arthur's Knights
Was Arthur a true, historical figure or only a hero of legend? This is truly up to each and every one of us to decide for ourselves. Arthur represents a man who was the epitome of good against evil, light against darkness, and that eternal, never-ending struggle between what is right and that which is wrong. Click here