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From antiquarian journeys to "evidences" of historical legends

Drawing headed 'Lemanis Portus' [Lympne, Kent] and dated October 1722, with a few notes; on the verso are Stukeley's notes on the Elham River, which 'ran this year 1724 & has not run of 6 years before, or more'

William Stukeley, Autograph manuscript notes and pen-and-ink drawings of the “Lemanis Portus,”  October 9, 1722; and excavations at Addington Hill, May 22,1725.


As a young man, Stukeley undertook a series of antiquarian journeys around England along the old Roman roads, recording any “ancient” evidence he might gather about the island’s earliest inhabitants.

These precious fragments from his notebooks and diaries preserve careful descriptions and sketches that would later inform his various handsome and often self-published publications.

His drawings, like this one of Roman ruins in Kent, orient the reader through details of perspective and scale, though others just as often relay Stukeley’s more imaginative encounters with Roman camps, supposed “druidic” relics, and material evidence of the legends of King Arthur and the first Christians of Britain.