Monday, June 22, 2009

King Arthur at Stonehenge, England - 2009

King Arthur refuses to leave Stonehenge

Let me introduce you to King Arthur Pendragon, a druid formerly known as John Rothwell, who set up camp on the edge of the site believing that people should be allowed to walk around and touch the stones, which have been roped off since 1977.

Pendragon, 57, who changed his name by deed poll in 1976, has been living in a small camper on the A344 road near Stonehenge since last June.

He says "Stonehenge was presented to the Nation after the Great War in 1918. Sixty years later in 1978 a fence was erected around it. I have spent the best part of twenty years in negotiations with said agencies.  It is now my intention to celebrate Solstices and Equinoxes in the environs of Stonehenge but I will not enter the Temple until their promise is realized and the fence removed."

King Arthur made a declaration notice ‘to quit’ which ended with the following words:
That they and other Government Departments, Eleven years & thirty seven million pounds later, have expressed a wish to squander yet more of our monies is a further demonstration of their Gross Incompetence

I therefore give "NOTICE TO QUIT" to English Heretics & H.M. Government
"Pick up thy fence & Walk"

King Arthur Pendragon, walks close to Stonehenge, after a judge tried to evict him from his live-in protest site there. Wiltshire County Council objected, on the grounds of trespassing, and launched legal proceedings. Now he has to remain behind this wire fencing since he has been banned from entering the site.

Stonehenge has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries. Modern day pagans and druids have been holding ceremonies there since at least 1905.

Thousands of people gather at Stonehenge to celebrate the Solstice and make worship in the manner of olden times. They argue, that’s why the sacred space is there and that is what it should be used for.

Mr. Pendragon wants visitors to be able to walk around and touch the stones, rather than remain in a visitor centre and stuck to marked-out trails.

In 2007, the government scrapped the plans to remove fences around Stonehenge, and build an underpass and grass over the A344 roadway.
He is hoping his protests will encourage the Government to resume those plans of removing the fences around the monument, and building  a tunnel over the A303 and grass over the A344. He said: “That’s what they promised to do but the Government said they
 couldn't afford the tunnel."

Mr. Pendragon has vowed to maintain his vigil, with the full support of the Council of British Druid Orders. 
He continues to picket the staff and tourists daily. He said he had no intention to leave. "We opened a bottle of mead and drank to Stonehenge. I have done a short ritual and spell of protection, calling on the kings of old. I am not going to go, I am continuing my lawful right to protest and my equal right to religious practice."

He asks visitors to sign a petition to encourage English Heritage and National Trust to return the temple/monument to the sacred landscape and environs allowing Free and Open Access to Stonehenge.

Some people stop and read his signs and others just walk by. I chatted with him for quite a while as he explained his situation and what he was trying to do. He sleeps outside in his small camper during all weather conditions and he is certainly dedicated to his cause. I have always admired people who are able to go above and beyond in order to stand up for something that they strongly believe in and he does have a point, don't you think?

Before we left he gave me a copy of a book that he has written "The Trials of Arthur - the Life and times of a Modern-Day King" by Arthur Pendragon and Christopher James Stone. 

He hopes to run as an independent parliamentary candidate. Why not?  He is no more colorful than some other  Members of Parliament  that I can think of  :-)

It was a pleasure meeting King Arthur and reading his petition gave me plenty to think about.
All in all, a wonderful day with my cousins at a place that we love so much.
I do hope that there will come a time when children can, once again, have memories of climbing on the stones placed there by our ancestors.


A final thought on Stonehenge: 

“I would rather live in a world where my life is surrounded by mystery 
than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it.” 
Sage words by Harry Emerson.

1 comment:

Maggie's Magic Pantry said...

Really interesting post. And what a character! Maggie