H is For Henge: The Salisbury Hospital Trilithon

photo by Matt Penny, aka @Salisbury_Matt (but heartlessly cropped and altered by evil Clonehenge elves)

When we receive an email with the subject line, “Does this count?” it appeals to our considerable megalomaniacal tendencies. That is correct, minions! It is completely up to us. We alone decide what is henge-sufficient and what is not. Ha. And this time friend of the blog Mr. Matt Penny, knowing our weakness for flattery, played on it in order to be given the prestigious name of Discoverer of a Large Permanent Replica. Well  done, sir!

What and where is it, you ask? Mr. Penny (yes, alert reader, that same young Mr. Penney we have mentioned before as the creator and sovereign of the website Salisbury and Stonehenge.net) says it is “a tri-lithon style ‘H’ which stands at the entrance to Salisbury District Hospital (usually known as Odstock)”  He goes on to say, “My feeling is that this is at least possibly a clonehenge rather than a simple stone ‘H‘ because of its elevation on a vaguely tumulus or tor shaped mound, and because of it’s relative proximity to the stones themselves (or clonehenge v0.1, as I’m starting to think of them).”

Although we prefer to think of ourselves as the only truly clever people,  we grudgingly admit that it was perceptive of Mr. Penny to look at this sculpture and realise that it is indeed a reference to that great grey heap of stones out on Salisbury plain. Proof that his hunch was correct can be seen on the sculptor’s website where it tells us the piece was “Commissioned by Salisbury Health Authority : H FOR HOSPITAL, a 6 tonne trilithon of Chilmark stone to mark the entrance to a new hospital. Click HERE to view.” [H IS FOR HOSPITAL--nice title but I think all of us here know what H is actually for!]

That word trilithon is the clincher. Put the word trilithon into Google along with the name Salisbury and one topic dominates the results–Stonehenge. Therefore this stone H fits solidly into the category of Stonehenge sculptures. In an odd twist, the notch method of inserting the third stone actually makes the sculpture more like the famous Tongan stone trilithon than like any of the trilithons at Stonehenge. But we are not ones to nit-pick (Much. Heh.).

More from Salisbury Matt, because he says it so well (or is it because we’re too lazy to write it ourselves? Surely not.): “The other quite nice aspect is that it’s made of Chilmark stone, which I *think* is the the stone that was used to build the Cathedral (I’ve never really been much into ley-lines etc, but Salisbury Cathedral and Stonehenge kind of go together – somebody like Dr Johnson said something like they are the ‘first essay and the last perfection of architecture’).

Wikipedia notes that Chilmark stone appears to have been used to pack around the base of at least one of the uprights at Stonehenge. This sculpture certainly ties in nicely. Curiously, when a hospital near to Clonehenge headquarters, far from Wilts, tried to call a huge H on their premises a sculpture, authorities judged it to be a commercial sign, denying them privileges or tax breaks. Maybe they should have made it of crude stone and called it a Stonehenge replica. Psh! And people say that our topic has no practical applications!

As for a score, we’re charmed by the connection of the Wiltshire Chilmark stone, the placement of it on a mound, and even the connection to healing, rumoured to be one of the functions of Stonehenge itself. We give it 5½ druids, not a bad score for a mere trilithon. And we give to Matt Penny that most coveted of titles–official Clonehenge Finder of a large permanent replica. Please, Monsieur Penny , we don’t want to hear about all the free drinks and action (wink, wink) you get as a result. Meanwhile don’t forget, other readers, if you want that kind of glory, make or find a Stonehenge replica and send us pictures! Your life will change in ways you can only imagine!

And to everyone, happy henging!

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