Saturday 16 February 2013

John Wood, Stonehenge and Freemasonry

John Wood, the Elder (1704 - 1754), was an English architect, working mainly in Bath.
In 1740 he surveyed Stonehenge and the Stanton Drew stone circles. He later wrote extensively about Bladud and Neo-Druidism.
Many of the buildings he designed are littered with icons and symbols associated with Freemasonry, leading many people who have studied his work to believe that he was a member of the organisation, even though there is no documentary proof. Wood wrote extensively about sacred geometry, and argued that the myths of the supposed founder of Bath, King Bladud, were based on truth. He claimed that ancient British stone circles were the remains of once more elaborate buildings designed by Bladud.
It has been suggested that Wood (and his son, also John) were connected to Freemasonry either via one of their building partnerships and/or via symbolism in their architecture. In his Masonic lecture and article, Stephen B. Cox tentatively suggests an image for this as the square (Queen's Square), the circle (The Circus) and the crescent (The Royal Crescent): standing for Earth, Sun and Moon

Detail of a carving on the fallen lintel, stone 156, of the central or great trilithon. The carving, which is in the form of a question mark with the initial LV within the loop, was according to Atkinson cut by an itinerant workman c.1829.

Question mark? Looks more like a crescent and connected circle. A masonic mark? Connected to Wood?

The carving today (ringed) click for much larger.

Photo by Peter Squire - taken by torchlight


  1. Hi Tim,
    I think this mark was made by a Stone Mason - not a Freemason.
    After consulting with local stone workers Atkinson used '1829' due to its style, a symbol which was no longer in use, as well as wear on the cuts, then 130 years passed.

    I do find the similarities between this mark and Wood's design interesting, but its size and seemingly random placement on L-156 has me persuaded that it was done by a stone worker.

    Remember that at this time (1829) and deep into the 19th Century they actually rented tools in Amesbury for the purpose of making marks on the Stones. While this could be used for either argument, even allowing great latitude in dates, it seems unlikely that Wood, his son or their contemporaries could have made this mark.

  2. I think that Stonehenge was a megamarket builded by poenicio masonry, and at the same time other functions, like logia, cem enterry, maybe industry, astrological and astronomic orientation for rites and navegation.

  3. Hi, I personally cannot see any connection to freemasons symbols with the above photos . Please can you explain?

  4. If you look again, i think you will find that the design represents a question mark

  5. I live at Battlefields House - used to be Lilliput Castle designed by John Wood the elder. We have a masons mark in the doorway similar to that but without the crescent and with a big W. Said to represent the Circus in Bath with the three radial roads. The Crescent in Bath didn't exist then being John Wood the Younger. Have photo.


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