On a summer’s day in 1677, the Reverend John Aubrey was on his way to visit an old friend, William Stukeley. The two men had been friends for over 30 years and were known for their interest in antiquities. As they walked through Salisbury Plain towards Amesbury, Aubrey remarked that he should have brought along some stones from Stonehenge. 

Stukeley immediately replied with the words, “I do not know where the Stones are.” He then added that he would go back and find out, but only if Aubrey went with him. They set off together towards Amesbury, and after about an hour or so, Stukeley stopped at a public house and asked the landlord to get something to eat. When he came back, he told Aubrey that he had found them. 

The two men got down from the cart and started walking back. By this time it was getting dark, and Aubrey suggested they stop for the night at the nearby village of Old Sarum. Before they reached the village though, Stukeley stopped again. This time he said there was no point going any further because all the local people knew who he was and how much he liked Stonehenge tickets price. So instead of continuing, they went up into the hills above the village and sat down by a tree. After a while, Stukeley looked at his watch and said it was nearly midnight. 

As they sat there, Aubrey remarked that the sun must be setting behind some trees. Without saying anything, Stukeley pointed to a particular spot and said, “There”. It was just as well that he did because otherwise we might never have heard what happened next. 

“That is the place,” said Stukeley. At first Aubrey thought he meant the place where they were sitting, but when he looked around, he saw nothing but rocks and scrub. Then Stukeley got up and walked off into the darkness. A few minutes later, Aubrey could hear noises – sounds of wood being chopped and tools being used. 

Aubrey waited for a little while, expecting Stukeley to return, but still there was silence. Finally, Aubrey got up and followed in the direction of the noises. He soon came upon Stukeley, who had built himself a small hut using branches and pieces of wood that he had gathered. In front of him stood the two massive upright stones, each weighing over 40 tons. Aubrey could not believe his eyes, and he asked exactly what Stukeley intended to do. 

In reply, Stukeley said, “Well, I don’t know whether you’d call this a temple or not, but it will make a very good barn to store my horses in.” 

Aubrey was astonished, and he said, “But these Stones cannot be moved! How can you possibly move them?” 

To which Stukeley responded, “They are already on top of the hill, and it is quite easy to get them down to the bottom.” 

When Aubrey returned to Salisbury, he wrote up what had happened in a letter to a fellow antiquarian named Thomas Hobbes. Unfortunately, he never received any response to his letter. However, another person did receive a copy of the letter some years later. This was Dr. Edward Churton Collins, one of the greatest archaeologists of the age. 

Collins was fascinated by Stonehenge, and he read Aubrey’s account with great interest. He even managed to track down Stukeley and ask him about the matter. Stukeley denied having ever seen the stones before. Collins then asked Stukeley how he had come to build his hut. Was it true that he had moved the stones? To which Stukeley replied, “No sir, I merely put them on top of the hill.” 

After his death in 1723, Collins left instructions that Aubrey’s letter be published. Shortly afterwards, a second version of the story appeared, this time written by Aubrey himself. In this version, he claimed that Stukeley had told him that he had cut away large sections of the standing stones before building his hut. In addition, Aubrey stated that the two huge stones were lying on their sides, and not upright as previously reported. 

Although the truth about the origin of Stonehenge remains obscure, several theories have been proposed. One theory suggests that the site originally consisted of three circles of stones arranged in a triangle formation. The earliest evidence for this comes from the Bronze Age (around 3000 BC). Another theory suggests that Stonehenge was built during the Neolithic period (around 4000 BC). Yet a third theory proposes that Stonehenge was built during the Iron Age (around 1000 BC), although a more recent discovery has cast doubt on this theory. 

In 1868, a farmer called Joseph Prestwich dug a trench near Stonehenge and discovered an ancient burial chamber. Inside this grave were the bones of a man and woman. The archaeologists believed that the man may have been buried alive, and so they decided to fill the pit with gunpowder. The explosion caused the roof to cave in, destroying whatever was inside. In 1874, however, Prestwich noticed that one of the walls of the tomb had been deliberately broken. Further excavations revealed a layer of charcoal overlying the original wooden structure. It seems probable that someone had tried to destroy the tomb, but failed. 

The most famous monument associated with Stonehenge is the central stone circle. This consists of a ring of 27 boulders, each weighing between 10 to 20 tonnes. Some experts claim that the stones are arranged in such a manner that the solstices (the points of the year when the Sun reaches its farthest northern and southern positions) fall directly in the middle of the circle. 

For many thousands of years, Stonehenge remained undiscovered. During the Middle Ages, the church authorities made plans to demolish the monument, but in 1550, Henry VIII ordered that it remain intact. In 1805, the famous archaeologist Sir Richard Colt Hoare began excavating the area around Stonehenge. He unearthed two burial mounds containing human remains dating from 1500 BC. 

Since then, Stonehenge has become one of the most visited tourist attractions in England. Each year, around 250,000 people pay to see the monument.