“The henge at Stanton Drew is thought to be older than Avebury or Stonehenge. Even with radio carbon dating, anomalies occur when attempting to establish an accurate date for any artefact. For the purposes of this study, parts of the Stanton Drew complex are assumed to date from 3500 bc. If this is correct the henge predates the Great Pyramid of Cheops in 2590 bc. Other events contemporaneous with its construction are the invention of the wheel in Mesopotamia, and the art of writing in Sumer…”
While the tourists flock to Stonehenge and Avebury, the third largest collection of standing stones in England can be found near the little village of Stanton Drew in north Somerset. The Great Circle, the largest of its three stone circles, encloses an area of 2000 square metres, and was once approached by an avenue of standing stones, since lost. A smaller Southwest circle is aligned to The Quoit and The Cove nearby. Recent archaeology has revealed evidence of a substantial woodhenge at Stanton Drew, underlining its importance as a major ritual centre of the Neolithic age.
Native Somerset author, Gordon Strong, professes a lifelong “love affair” with the ancient stones and is a regular lecturer and guide on the subject, as well as the author of Stanton Drew and its Ancient Stone Circles. This new volume, The Sacred Stone Circles of Stanton Drew, is a fascinating introduction to the stones from many different angles and reflects the author’s many years exploring the site on multifarious levels. It also includes a series of ancient maps, surveyor diagrams, dowsing charts, and various holdings from the Bristol Reference Library, as well as a series of wonderful site photographs by Rebsie Fairholm. Strong presents the available archaeological detail along with local folklore and the diverse testimonies of various commentators, from 18th century antiquarians, modern dowsers, druids, tourists, the Press, archeoastronomers, clairvoyants, other ‘sensitives,’ and at one point – a group of Tibetan Monks. He discusses ritual, mediumship, earth energies and the relative mythologies of the Sumerians, Chaldeans, Babylonians and Egyptians.
At a poignant juncture in the book Strong professes rather emphatically that his main interest in the stones is beyond all things, Esoteric. Woven with other commentary comes his own unique observations and insights gleaned from his experience and training in the Western esoteric tradition and British Mysteries. Beginning with a survey of ancient Saxon and Welsh place names in the area he considers both the practical and sacred usage of the stone circles and its earlier wood henge from the Beaker people through to the Celts and other ancient Britons. His impressions, rooted in personal experiences of the place rather than dry historical assessment, prompt the reader to make their own inner connections to this unique monument, which still vibrates with the magical residue of ancient peoples. The circles are in turn envisioned as a sky chart, a magnetised compass, a sacred calendar (aligning on May Day and the Solstices), a Venusian temple, a shamanic crystallised battery, and an otherworldly teleport. Strong embraces the sacred geometry, the spiralling forces and their dragon energy in fields laced with ancient ley lines. Such is a powerful introduction, not just to this particular set of standing stones, but to what all megaliths represent in totality to the British folk soul.
Skylight Press is committed to literature about the ancient sites of Britain and thrilled to offer Gordon Strong’s The Sacred Stone Circles of Stanton Drew, which follows The Way of Magic published earlier this year.
The Sacred Stone Circles of Stanton Drew is available from various retail outlets such as Amazon, Amazon UK, or direct from the Skylight Press website.