Trouble at Stonehenge: King Arthur fights the alcohol ban and car park charge for Summer Solstice
King Arthur Pendragon
King Arthur opposes alcohol ban and car park charge for Stonehenge Summer Solstice
Druid leader and activist King Arthur Uther Pendragon has a battle on his hands because he is opposing new changes being introduced by English Heritage at Stonehenge for Summer Solstice. English Heritage, the organisation in charge of managing the ancient monument and site, is introducing a ban on alcohol being taken into Stonehenge at the time of Summer Solstice, as well as a £15 charge for parking cars in the car park.
King Arthur, who campaigned for many years back in the 1990s, for free public open access to Stonehenge at Summer Solstice, and eventually won, is annoyed with the new rules English Heritage, or "English Heretics," as he calls the organisation, are imposing this year. The druid campaigner had been arrested year after year for breaking the so-called "exclusion zone" around Stonehenge at the time of the Summer Solstice. Getting arrested like this gave him a platform to make his point about how the public should be able to attend Stonehenge at Solstice. Eventually, the authorities agreed to make Stonehenge freely open at Summer Solstice and it has remained that way until now.
Pendragon had made the point that Stonehenge is like a cathedral for pagans and druids, and that as such these people should be able to freely worship at this site which is a very important part of their religious beliefs. He has pointed out that followers of other religions would be very upset if they were denied access to their churches and temples at times they believe are sacred times of the year.
Making reference to the new car parking charge, King Arthur asked: "Would you pay to park outside a church?"
Stonehenge Protest poster
The Trials of Arthur: a book about Arthur's story
King Arthur walks out of Roundtable discussion
King Arthur had already walked out of a "Roundtable" discussion at which English Heritage had revealed the proposals for the car park fee and a ban on alcohol. He had urged his supporters to email English Heritage joining him on in his protest by voicing their disapproval of these changes. King Arthur says he knew then it was a "done deal" and that EH would be bringing in the new rules whatever anyone said to counter their plans. It seems he was right!
Pendragon has posted on his Facebook wall: "It is with EH always one rule for the masses and another for themselves and ALWAYS about Milking Stonehenge (The biggest cash cow they have, or rather look after on our behalf) for every single penny they can.
Now with their current plans they have most definitely overstepped the mark."
English Heritage vs King Arthur
Kate Davies, who is Stonehenge manager for English Heritage has explained why the changes are being made. She has stated:
"English Heritage wants to deliver a safe solstice whilst protecting the monument. In recent years there has been damage caused to the stones, complaints from visitors about the behaviour of attendees and growing attendances. I feel we must make some changes or we risk losing what makes solstice at Stonehenge so special."
And Ms Davies continued: "The banning of alcohol is to reduce risk to those attending and to the monument itself and we hope this will result in a change of behaviour at Solstice celebrations. We are however, mindful of the practices of some druid and pagan groups who use ceremonial alcohol as part of their ritual practice and worship and we are keen to consult with representatives of these groups on if moderate symbolic use can be incorporated in to the new policy."
Davies is talking about damage to Stonehenge and trouble resulting from drunken behaviour, however, King Arthur points out that English Heritage: "Complain about people chipping away Blue Stones (From which part of Stonehenge is 'assembled') from quarries in Wales. Yet sell Jewelry made out of it in their Gift shop at Stonehenge."
And he continued on his Facebook profile page that English Heritage: "Complain about alcohol being use in Ceremony at Solstice and would place a total prohibition on its consumption. Yet sell both Mead and Wine in their gift shop at Stonehenge."
Binge drinking and drug taking
It seems obvious to King Arthur and to many other people that banning of alcohol being taken into Stonehenge at Summer Solstice will result in binge drinking beforehand, as well as the possession and consumption of illegal drugs. These methods will probably be used by people in an effort to get around the new rules. If people consume more alcohol before going into Stonehenge this is likely to cause problems, and if people take drugs at the site they will be breaking the law.
It appears that English Heritage are inviting confrontation and conflict with the public, not preventing it, and they are encouraging illegal drug abuse by prohibiting alcohol which is legal.
Whatever happens now, it seems very likely there will be trouble at Stonehenge this Summer Solstice!
The last word can go to King Arthur who says:
"We will NOT co-operate and we will oppose....."
King Arthur Protesting for the return of our Ancestors
Where is Stonehenge?
New Stonehenge rules for Summer Solstice poll
Do you agree with English Heritage and their car park charge and alcohol ban?See results without voting
King Arthur's "Bring Back the Bones" campaigns
King Arthur has been also conducting another ongoing protest campaign at Stonehenge to get the "bones of the ancestors" returned to where they were originally laid to rest at Stonehenge. There are two lots of bones the druid leader is campaigning about.
One lot of bones that Pendragon has been protesting over are the human remains that are being displayed in the Stonehenge Visitor Centre. He has suggested that replica bones could be substituted but English Heritage said they believed "authenticity" was important.
The other bones were removed from Stonehenge by archaeologists who said they wanted to study them but would return them after they had finished their studies. This they failed to do. King Arthur has said he has no problem with the scientists studying the bones and carbon dating them but that they should honour their word and return the bones to where they were originally laid to rest. He says that it is a "matter of common decency" and has collected signatures of supporters of very many different religions who were prepared to show their support for his views on a petition he organised. He even had a Satanist sign after a signature by a Christian!
Even though he has lost court cases so far over the bones of the ancestors being returned to where they came from at Stonehenge, the battle continues to rebury the bones, and a brand new battle has begun over the car park charge and alcohol ban.
Pendragon is no stranger to using the media to get his message across and has often been featured in newspapers and on TV news programmes. The Facebook social networking site recently took down his page, on the grounds that Arthur Uther Pendragon was not his real name, even though he showed this to be the truth, as supported by the evidence of his passport and driving license. However, after the story was featured in the press, Facebook gave him his page back.
King Arthur has no intention of giving up on the issue of the "Bones of the Ancient Dead," or the new car park charge and alcohol ban, and will continue to fight for the Ancient Virtues of Truth, Honour and Justice that all those who are knighted into his Loyal Arthurian Warband Druid Order are sworn to uphold!
© 2016 Steve Andrews
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