William Stukeley

From Academic Kids

William Stukeley (November 7, 1687March 3, 1765) was an English antiquary who pioneered the archaeological investigation of Stonehenge and Avebury.

He was born at Holbeach in Lincolnshire, the son of a lawyer. After taking his M.B. degree at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, he went to London and studied medicine at St Thomas's Hospital. In 1710 he started in practice in Lincolnshire, removing in 1717 to London. In the same year he became a fellow of the Royal Society, and, in 1718, joined in the establishment of the Society of Antiquaries, acting for nine years as its secretary. In 1719 he took his M.D. degree and in 1720 became a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, publishing in the same year his first contribution to antiquarian literature.

His principal work, an elaborate account of Stonehenge, appeared in 1740, and he wrote copiously on other supposed Druid remains, becoming familiarly known as the "Arch-Druid." In 1729 he took holy orders, and, after holding two livings in Lincolnshire, was appointed rector of a parish in Bloomsbury, London. He died in London on the 3rd of March 1765.

In 1742 he visited the cave at Royston and a year later he published his Palaeographia Britannica or discourses on Antiquities in Britain no.I, Origines Roystonianae, or an account of the Oratory of lady Roisia, Foundress of Royston discovered in Royston in August 1742. Following a response by the Reverend Charles Parkin he penned the sequel: Palaeographia Britannica or discourses on Antiquities in Britain no.II, or defense of Lady de Vere, Foundress of Roiston, against the Calumny of Mr. Parkin, rector of Oxburgh wherein his pretended answer is fully refuted: the former opinion further confirm'd and illustrated. To which are occasionally added, many curios matters in antiquity.

Stukeley was a friend of Isaac Newton and wrote a memoir of his life (1752).

Further reading

Stuart Piggott William Stukeley: An Eighteenth-Century Antiquary (1985) ISBN 0500013608

External Link

  • Text and engravings of Stukeley's Avebury survey online (http://www.avebury-web.co.uk/AburyWS/AburyWS.html)
  • Bronze Medal of William Stukeley at the British Museum (http://www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/compass/ixbin/hixclient.exe?_IXDB_=compass&_IXSR_=ov5&_IXSS_=%2524%2bwith%2bv2_searchable_index%3d%252e%26_IXNOMATCHES_%3dgraphical%252fno_matches%252ehtml%26_IXDB_%3dcompass%26_IXspage%3dsearch_gallery%257cMain%26v2obj_location_id%253atext_wp2%3dGAL10271%26_IXsearchterm%3dRoom%2b1%2b%252f%2b2&_IXFIRST_=11&_IXMAXHITS_=1&_IXSPFX_=graphical/full/&_IXsearchterm=Room+1+%2f+2%26_IXspage=search_gallery|Main&submit-button=summary)
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