John Aubrey
1626-1697

Antiquarian.

Oxford educated, he was the author of numerous books on various subjects, from folklore, to biography, to natural history. He is best known, however, as an early student of Britian's megalithic structures, beginning his exhaustive surveying at the young age of 22. Aubrey was the first to tentatively claim that Avebury's stone circle was a Druidic temple, though he was cautious of such a claim. Later in 1694, it would be John Toland who, after speaking with Aubrey and viewing his manuscript Monumenta Britannica (also called Templa Druidim), encouraged the publishing of some of the findings.

In the Society of Antiquaries' excavations of 1921 to 1925, a series of holes dug into the chalky ground of Stonehenge were discovered; it was later determined that they were dug to hold the original timber pylons, and constituted the earliest stage of Stonehenge's development. The fifty-six holes were named the Aubrey Holes in honor of John Aubrey.

WORKS:

  • Miscellanies (1696)
  • Lives of Eminent Men (published 1823)
  • Natural History of Wiltshire (published 1847)
  • Perambulation of Surrey
  • Monumenta Britannica (unpublished manuscript)

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    Mary Jones 2004