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Alexandra Walsham: The Destruction of Stonehenge: Iconoclasm, Reputation an...
Thu, 23 March 2017, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM PDT
This lecture presents the result of a detective investigation. It examines the allegation that in July 1645 the Independent minister Hugh Peter urged the Parliamentary General Sir Thomas Fairfax to destroy Stonehenge as one of the 'monuments of heathenism'. It explores the overlapping contexts in which this episode must be set and seeks to augment recent work on the complex relationship between remembering and forgetting during and after the English Civil Wars. It demonstrates that the physical landscape became an ideological battleground in which competing perceptions of the past were played out and it analyses how gossip, laughter, malice and zeal fused in the drive to find scapegoats and to blacken reputations. It seeks to illuminate the long and divisive, but also fertile legacies that the ‘late troubles’ bequeathed to subsequent generations. Finally, it offers some critical reflections on historical method itself.