William Stukeley

(1687—1765) antiquary and natural philosopher

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British antiquary, traveller and co‐founder of the Society of Antiquaries of London. Born in Holbeach and brought up in the fenlands of Lincolnshire in eastern England, Stukeley learned medicine at Cambridge University (Bennet/Corpus Christi College) before studying at St Thomas's Hospital, London, under Dr Mead from 1709. Beginning in 1710 he took an annual tour on horseback across England, exploring gardens, architectural curiosities, and ancient sites. Between 1710 and 1717 he was in medical practice at Boston in his native Lincolnshire, but moved back to London in May 1717 and in January 1718 become the first secretary of the Society of Antiquaries of London. In 1722–4 his tours took him to Avebury and Stonehenge, where he made very detailed records of what he saw. He later became a clergyman and was ordained into the Anglican church in 1729. Throughout his later life he became obsessed with the romantic idealization of the Druids and the religion of the ancient British. His published works included Itinerarium curiosum (1724), Stonehenge (1740), and Avebury (1743).


S. Piggott, 1985, William Stukeley: an eighteenth century antiquary (2nd edition). London: Thames & Hudson

Subjects: Archaeology.

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