Stonehenge stands out from other megalithic monuments due to its stones being sanded, shaped, and assembled using processes reminiscent of a woodworker. This long object indicated that it originated from a distinct era compared to the unprocessed stones used in other stone circles and burial chambers. Stonehenge’s fame attracted those with limited knowledge of antiquity and scant familiarity with other ancient sites. As a result, writings on the topic were more diverse in their perspectives and encompassed a wider array of social, cultural, and intellectual groupings. Its date and purpose were still widely disputed among prominent advocates of the new interpretation of the ancient history, which excluded Druid influence.

Lubbock believed the structure was constructed during the Bronze Age, although Thurnam credited it to the Belgae, considered the prominent group in Iron Age Britain. What brought prehistorians together who adopted the new concepts was the fact that it predated the Roman era. However, this raised the issue of its placement in what were now considered three distinct periods starting from the Neolithic era.63 Some well-informed readers were impatient and frustrated by these arguments, as indicated by Arthur Evans, a prominent British archaeologist who later discovered the Minoan culture of Crete and was knighted.

Bluntly stated that all current theories about Stonehenge were just unfounded and speculative. He acknowledged the possibility of reuniting with Druids, but emphasized the importance of using current scientific means to get there. In 1901, the issue was seemingly resolved when the owner of the stones for one of them, which was leaning precariously, to be realigned. Archaeologists were able to excavate beneath the structure, revealing evidence that indicated it dated back to either the Neolithic period or the early Bronze Age.

Some Victorian authors were evidently influenced by Druid beliefs when writing about Stonehenge. Ironically, one of them was Charles Darwin, who, despite inspiring new prehistorians, referred to the monument as Druidical in 1881 without having read their work. Lubbock was not pleased by a leaflet prepared by a female admirer that claimed Britain’s stone circles were built by Hebrews from the Holy Land to worship ‘the one true God’. Authors of works about Stonehenge boldly perpetuated the old Druidic beliefs till the end of the century, often incorporating references to biblical patriarchs and the Phoenicians, a tradition that had persisted for two centuries.

An article published in the Times newspaper in 1886 recognized that the purpose and construction date of Stonehenge were subjects of intense debate among scholars. It stated that it was highly likely that Druids were responsible for building Stonehenge, raising the question of whether contemporary individuals should view it with admiration or disapproval. That year, Punch magazine, known for its humorous nature, depicted a scenario where a cockney tourist and an archaeologist collided at a stone site, with the archaeologist speaking in a charming and persuasive manner. Regarding Druids, sickles, mistletoe, sacrificial stones, and such topics, till I inquired if a small amount of money would satisfy him; and dismissed him in a huff.

In the field of media, the Daily News referred to Stonehenge as ‘the Druid’s temple’ without any hesitancy or complexity in the final year of the century. Additional evidence of widespread belief may be seen in the guidebooks created for the monument when more tourists started coming due to advancements in transportation and technology in the late 19th century. There was no official guide available yet because admission was free, uncontrolled, and unregulated. The unofficial guardians, the Brownes, had left, but pamphlets were being sold in adjacent towns.

The earliest surviving record from 1882 demonstrated familiarity with the theories of Nilsson and Lubbock, while also mentioning that Stonehenge was commonly attributed to the Druids, who were considered troublesome. Two more individuals came after in 1894. One theory, proposed by a Wiltshire vicar, was that the scholarly opinions on the matter were so diverse that no definite conclusions could be drawn. The other boldly stated that the monument was created by the Druids, who followed a religion with many excellent characteristics.

Lady Antrobus, the wife of the current owner of Stonehenge and its surrounding property, was unaware of the fresh perspectives at that time. In 1900, she released her own guide where she suggested that the structure could have been either a ‘Great Druidical Temple’ or a ‘Phoenician Observatory‘, while acknowledging varying scholarly perspectives. She favored the former explanation and envisioned the monument in carefree Pagan times.

Druid priests and priestesses are participating in elaborate processions, crossing the Avon River and ascending from the valley to Stonehenge. They are dressed in white, carrying shiny sickles, and singing hymns as they make their journey to execute the sacred ritual of cutting the mistletoe. They may have sung and chanted during the brief summer night, anticipating the sunrise. This likely indicated the need for a sacrifice, the demise of the victim, and the pacification of angry deities.

The evidence on Britain’s most significant prehistoric monument supports Hutchinson’s contention that by the end of the century, many supposedly knowledgeable individuals continued to emphasize the importance of Druids in British prehistory.