October 25th, 2015

Today we managed to hit 2 pretty big sites. We visited Stonehenge and the Magna Carta at Salisbury Cathedral. First up on our list today was Stonehenge. It was relatively easy to get to from Salisbury, we were able to grab a bus that was specifically for visiting the historic site. The bus ride was quick and we were at Stonehenge before we knew it.

The rocks within the Stonehenge structure are believed to have been raised between 3,000 and 2,500 BC. However, within the last ten years several other structures have been found surrounding Stonehenge. Some of these structures date back to 10,000 BC and were found using modern archeology equipment, these findings have not yet been excavated.

The main mystery of Stonehenge is what it was used for, as of now no one really knows. There have been several theories as to it’s use but the most probable one is that it has something to do with the fall and summer solstice and could have been used as a calendar.

This is actually Melissa’s second time visiting Stonehenge and a lot has changed about the site since she was here 12 years ago. Mainly they moved the main road away from Stonehenge, so it’s a little more secluded and the visitor center is completely new.

Here’s a look at our tour of Stonehenge…

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The Heelstone. If you are standing in Stonehenge during the summer solstice and were facing the Heelstone, the sun would rise roughly right above the Heelstone.

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The front of Stonehenge…

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The back of Stonehenge, apparently the back was poorly constructed so they believe it is why it has not held up as well as the front.

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They’re restoring some of Stonehenge, so the square structure below the rock that you see in this picture is actually concrete.

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We saw this awesome little bird, he was so colorful.

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We had pasties for lunch! For those that don’t know, pasties are big in Melissa’s family. They’re completely unhealthy but delicious.

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Some examples of the housing that people lived in during the time of Stonehenge.

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After we visited Stonehenge we decided to take a look at Salisbury Cathedral and the Magna Carta. There were several copies of the Magna Carta but only 4 remain. The one located at Salisbury Cathedral is the most well preserved. Here’s a quick history lesson about the Magna Carta…”First drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to make peace between the unpopular King and a group of rebel barons, it promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown, to be implemented through a council of 25 barons. Neither side stood behind their commitments, and the charter was annulled by Pope Innocent III, leading to the First Barons’ War.” To read more you can visit Wikipedia here. 

Unfortunately we couldn’t take any pictures of the Magna Carta but here’s a look at the rest of the cathedral…

It’s definitely fall time in England.

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This is the worlds oldest mechanical clock. It has no face or hands, its bells ring every hour…

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Ryan playing with reflections shots…he did a pretty good job!

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You may not be able to tell but this supporting column in the church is actually bowing out. The steeple you see on the church in the pictures above was not the original steeple. It was switched out at some point and the new one is too heavy for the church structure.

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How much do you know about the Magna Carta? Take the quiz…the answers are on the bottom of the picture.

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Apparently arsenic was used to treat sick patients in the past before it was realized that it was poison. One of the individuals buried in the church died from arsenic poisoning after being treated for a fever. This rat was found in his brain after his body was exhumed. It appears the rat buried into the coffin and was eating the remains, unfortunately he consumed the arsenic in the body which is an effective rat poison.

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Melissa had also visited the Salisbury Cathedral before but she didn’t see the Magna Carta when she was there. She was happy to finally be able to visit the Magna Carta.

We had a great time today visiting Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral and the Magna Carta. Tomorrow we’re off to Bath.

Happy Travels,

Ryan & Melissa