In 2015 David Shirt, one of the Rollright Trust trustees, reviewed the role of the solar astronomer Sir Norman Lockyer in connection with the Stones.
A pioneer of archaeo-astronomy, Lockyer visited the Stones in 1868, 1873 and 1905 and discussed them in his book on astronomical alignments and prehistoric monuments (1906). He debunked the claim espoused by Henry Taunt and others that the King Stone is a marker for midsummer sunrise (which was probably based on the fundamental flaw of mistaking magnetic north for true north). Lockyer’s last visits fell either side of the Stones being included in the first Ancient Monuments Act (1882) when fallen stones in the King’s Men stone circle were re-erected to ‘restore’ or tidy up the monument. His annotated survey drawing in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford is the only detailed record of what was done at that time.
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- Sir Norman Lockyer at the Rollright Stones pdf (1 KB)