The Occult Laboratory: Magic, Science, and Second Sight in Late Seventeenth-Century Scotland

By Michael Hunter | Go to book overview

4.

Letters from Dr. Ja. Garden, Professor of Theologie at Aberdene to Mr. J. Aubrey concerning the Druid's Temples. a

Letter 1b

Old Aberdene June 15 — 92.

Honoured Sir,

Yours dated at London April 9th — 92 came to my hands about ten dayes after. Since that time I have been using my best endeavours for obtaining a satisfactory answer to your Quære's: if that which I now send you be not such, as I desired & it may be you expected, it is none of my fault: For I not only went and visited sundrie of those antiquities (to the number of six or seaven) concerning which you desire to be informed; but also employed the assistance of my freinds, whereof some were going from this place to other parts of the countrey, & others live at a distance. I have been waiting all this time for an account of there diligence, and albeit I have not heard as yet from all those persons to whome I spoke & wrote for information, yet I thought it not fitt to delay the giving you a returne anie longer, lest you should apprehend either that your letter had miscarried or that I had neglected the contents of it.

What the Lord Yester and Sir Robert Morray told you long ago is true, viz. that in the north parts of this Kingdom, many monuments of the nature and fashion described by you are yet extant. c They consist of tall bigg unpolished stones, sett upon an end, & placed circularly not contiguous together but at some distance. The obscurer sort (which are the more numerous) have but one circle of stones standing at equall distances; others, toward the south or south east; have a large broad stone standing on edge, which fills up the whole space betwixt two of those stones that stand on end; and is called by the vulgar the altar stone: a third sort more remarkeable then anie of the former, besides all that I have alreadie mentioned, have another circle of smaller stones standing within the circle of great stones. The area

____________________
a
This is the title-page that Aubrey prefixed to these letters in Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Aubrey 12, fol. 122.
b
MS Aubrey 12, fols. 123—4.
c
For Aubrey's debt to Moray, see Introduction, p. 23. His other informant was the Scottish aristocrat, John Hay, Lord Yester (1645—1713).

-118-

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