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Postcards to friends of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site


Archaeology abounds with astonishing characters, and firmly in that bracket we find Sir Henry Wellcome (1853-1936), the wealthy American-born pharmacist and philanthropist pictured above right (courtesy of the Wellcome Library, London). Better known perhaps for spending his huge personal fortune on medical research and collecting, Wellcome was also the pioneer of aerial photography using kites, deploying this method to stereoscopically record his excavation of a site in the Sudan in 1911.

It was five years earlier of course that Stonehenge was photographed from a military balloon by Lieutenant P. H. Sharpe, but Wellcome’s box kite method was rather more portable, if more difficult to control and dependent on wind. Wellcome had visited Stonehenge himself in 1890, collecting lichen (pictured above by Stewart Emmens, courtesy of the Science Museum), apparently exporting the sample from the site in a now lost matchbox.


See The Things that Henry “picked up”:
See also:


This is part of a series of short “postcards” that anyone with something to share is welcome to submit, whether that is a digital snap and a “wish you were here” or something more involved. Please do join in by sending your postcards to

For others in the series put postcards in the search box.

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Well, not Stonehenge in Wiltshire but Stonehenge in Bywong, New South Wales – the henge that Rob and Tracey Wallace built last year.

They’ve already sent us a postcard about their henge but they didn’t mention the heart so we can’t tell you what it is. Perhaps a British University could consider a research project?

By the way, they sent us some more pictures of their henge. One in particular struck us as capturing the essence of the Wiltshire monument just now, complete with frost!


(See the Wiltshire version here).

These photographs were taken yesterday morning close to the section of the field where the original hoard was recovered.

Image 1: Open hole with footsteps


Image 2: Detail of the same hole:


Image 3: Further detail:


There were three additional areas of probable activity about 20 yards to the left. Judging by the footsteps the intrusion must have been very recent, probably less than a week ago, certainly since the crop appeared.


More Heritage Action views on metal detecting and artefact collecting


William Borlase was born on this day, February 2nd 1695 in Pendeen, Cornwall. It is said that he was born in the farmhouse where the Pendeen Vau fogou is located. The family descended from an old Norman family who took the Borlase name from the farm where they had first settled, just northwest of St Wenn. The family moved to Pendeen in the mid-17th century. There is still a Borlase Farm at St Wenn today.

He attended Exeter College at Oxford and was ordained as a deacon in 1719, and a year later as a priest. He returned to Ludgvan in 1722 and ten years later following the death of his brother (the incumbent) was also presented with the vicarage of St Just, the parish of his birth. William married Anne Smith, a rector’s daughter, in 1724 and they had six sons though only four survived infancy – three of whom became churchmen like their father. Anne died in 1769, aged 45.

William Borlase

As an antiquarian he is best known for his ‘Antiquities of Cornwall’, first published in 1754, but he was also known as a naturalist and geologist as well as being vicar of Ludgvan for 50 years before his death in 1772.

Living in a strong mining area led to an interest in geology and collection of mineral samples, and from this came an interest in the natural history of the county, and the various ancient monuments there, many of which still survive.

In 1730, he became acquainted with Alexander Pope (for whose grotto at Twickenham he later supplied many the fossils and minerals), Ralph Allen, and other persons of eminence and ability and began a correspondence with them, and other distinguished persons whose acquaintance he afterwards made. This continued throughout his life, and a considerable archive of his letters exists.

Visiting Exeter in 1748 for the ordination of his eldest son, he met with Dean Lyttelton (afterwards bishop of Carlisle). This acquaintanceship seems to have led to the publication of William’s essay ‘Spar and Sparry Productions, called Cornish Diamonds‘ in the ‘Philosophical Transactions’. Shortly after this, in 1760 he was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society.

Borlase Title

‘Cornish Antiquities’ was published in 1754, with a second edition released in 1769, complete with many plates based upon his sketches, including depictions of Zennor Quoit prior to it’s partial destruction and subsequent restoration, and Lanyon Quoit before it’s collapse in the early 1800’s.

'Senar Cromlech'

‘Senar Cromlech’

In 1766 his account of the Scilly Islands, ‘Observations on the Ancient and Present State of the Islands of Scilly, and their Importance to the Trade of Great Britain’ appeared, being an extension of an earlier essay in the ‘Philosophical Transactions’. 1758 saw the publication of his ‘Natural History’, also illustrated with numerous plates from his own drawings.

Shortly after 1758 he presented his collections to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. In acknowledgment of this gift, and in recognition of his distinguished services to literature and archaeology, the university conferred upon him by diploma, in 1766, the degree of doctor of laws.

William died at Ludgvan on 31 Aug. 1772, aged 77. Only two of his sons survived him: the Rev. John Borlase, and the Rev. George Borlase.

A ‘scholarly biography’ is available from the Cornish Bookshop.

Postcards to friends of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site


Silbury Hill is an acoustic roots and folk rock duo consisting of Scott Dolling (flute, guitar, vocals) and David Stainer (guitars, mandolin, vocals). Based in East Anglia they play a lively blend of original songs plus covers by popular artistes. The duo have performed at festivals, events and in clubs and bars throughout the region as well as a number of appearances in France (including the national Fete de la Musique festival). They have played live radio sessions and supported professional touring artistes.

Silbury Hill have produced 2 CD’s of original material – “The Tudor Rose” (2011) and “Broadside and Mayhem” (2013).

Both members of the duo have a lively interest in heritage and initially looked for a name that reflected their East Anglian roots. But one of the guy’s girlfriend, a west country girl, unwittingly provided a name through her chosen email address – and has since donated the email address to them too!

Further information can be found at or email


This is part of a series of short “postcards” that anyone with something to share is welcome to submit, whether that is a digital snap and a “wish you were here” or something more involved. Please do join in by sending your postcards to

For others in the series put postcards in the search box.


February 2013

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