Knowlton is a small area in Dorset, England, UK. Its most recognizable features are a ruined Norman church, built within a neolithic henge monument. This site is maintained by English Heritage.
The henge enclosing Knowlton Church is only one of three henges and associated earthworks. However, Church Henge is the best preserved. Nearby is Great Barrow, the largest round barrow in Dorset. Aerial photographs reveal a large number of ploughed-out barrows in the immediate vicinity.
Knowlton is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086–87 as Chenoltone. Winfrith Newburgh, East or West Lulworth, “Wintreborne” and Knowlton were held by King William; they were previously held by King Edward. The Domesday Book also records two hides of the land of the Count of Mortain in Knowlton, named as Chenoltune in the book, held by Ansgar, which was held by Æthelmær in the time of King Edward. This land paid geld, was enough for one plough with one slave and one bordar, a mill paying 12s6d, and was worth 25s.
The site of the ancient village of Knowlton (as opposed to the present day hamlet) is located 50 yards west of Knowlton Church along Lumber Lane at the banks of the River Allen. There is little to be seen on the ground, but aerial photos do show the village layout. It is believed that the village was a victim of the Black Death.
Possibly the remains of a Neolithic tomb, Mên-an-Tol is steeped in legend and folklore and has been used for thousands of years as a place of ritual and healing. The stones consist of two uprights with a circular holed stone in their centre and a fourth stone which has fallen. It is highly likely that the stones of Men-an-Tol are the result of a collapsed Dolmen tomb or a stone circle and have been repositioned, possibly more than once during their history.
Hagar Qim, Qrendi, Malta
Hagar Qim (adge-ar eem) meaning standing stones.
These are the oldest stone buildings in the world, pre-dating the Pyramids of Egypt by around a thousand years. The builders arrived here by sea in 5,000 BC, bringing agriculture and animals with them. They used the island’s limestone bedrock to build their homes and temples. Some stones weigh nearly 51,000kg and they did this without any metal tools, matching the Egyptian builders over a millennium later, in design and precision. These people were far from primitive.
The true height of the temple, indicated by the high pillar stones, was around three times the current entrance structure. The wood, painting and plaster work have long gone, but what remains is testimony to the master masons that worked here 7,000 years ago.
The priestly rituals and animal sacrifices here were aimed at a Mother God, a food provider, the essence of Earth itself. Fertility dictated feast or famine, and everywhere the feminine curves and womb-like structures embody this vital concept. The endless cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth is all around us.
It isn’t time that separates us from these temple builders, it’s the way we look at the world. No trace has been found of weapons or warfare, their concerns were cohesion, co-operation and to be at one with the Earth, the great provider.
©2013 Tim Pickford-Jones