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Disputing Stonehenge: Law and Access to a National Symbol


Penny English

Senior Lecturer in Law at Middlesex University
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Stonehenge has been the site of lengthy, and at times violent, disputes concerning the refusal of access to the site. In particular, this has concerned the wishes of various groups of people to celebrate there (whether in religious or secular form) at Midsummer. This paper examines the events at the site from the violent end to the era of free festivals at the site in the mid-1980s to the current moves to extend free access to the stones at the Solstice. It suggests that these events cannot be viewed in isolation. Denying access to a national monument held in public ownership raises questions of the nature of national monuments themselves, and of the society for which they have symbolic importance. The recent moves towards open access to the site at the Solstice are part of a process of renegotiation of boundaries, which itself reflects a changed social climate. However, this has not provided a final resolution to the problem of reconciling diverse interests in the site.
How to Cite: English, P. (2002). Disputing Stonehenge: Law and Access to a National Symbol. The Entertainment and Sports Law Journal, 1(2), 1. DOI:
Published on 20 Jun 2002.
Peer Reviewed


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