Advertisement
Features

21 September 1915: Salisbury man buys Stonehenge for his wife

100 years ago today, Cecil Chubb paid just £6,600 when he bought 30 acres of Wiltshire and the world’s most famous Neolithic monument “on a whim” as an anniversary present for his wife.

150921-stonehenge
Cecil Chubb owned Stonehenge for three years before giving it to the nation

What might make a good wedding anniversary present for your wife, do you think, presuming you have one? Jewellery, perhaps? Perfume? Dinner at a swanky restaurant?

How about 30 acres of Wiltshire and the world's most famous Neolithic monument?

Possibly not.

But that's what Salisbury man Cecil Chubb decided on a whim when he found himself at Messrs Knight, Franck and Rutley's auction in the Palace Theatre on this day 100years ago.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Stonehenge had been in the possession of the Antrobus family for generations. But the sole heir, Lieutenant Edmond Antrobus, was killed in action in 1914, just 20 days after arriving in France. With him, the family line died, and the estate containing Stonehenge was put up for sale.

Cecil paid the bargain price of £6,600 (the equivalent of some £475,000 in today's money) for the monument, and associated bit of Wiltshire. Unfortunately for Cecil, his wife wasn't too enthused by her romantic gift. So, after enjoying it for just three years, Cecil decided to give it to the nation. And in return, Cecil became Sir Cecil.

But his gift did come with a few conditions, including that the entrance fee should be a "reasonable sum per head not exceeding one shilling for each visit". In 1921, local residents were guaranteed free access in a deal between Parliament and the local Parish Council to this day, 30,000 locals are entitled to a pass giving them free access.

The rest of the 1.3 million visitors people who visited the monument in 2014 had to pay rather more than a shilling: the current entrance fee for adults stands at £14.50.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/519858/how-long-can-the-good-times-roll
Economy

How long can the good times roll?

Despite all the doom and gloom that has dominated our headlines for most of 2019, Britain and most of the rest of the developing world is currently en…
19 Dec 2019
Visit/economy/601346/are-we-back-on-the-road-to-serfdom
Economy

Are we back on the road to serfdom?

The coronavirus crisis has led to levels of state intervention unprecedented in peace time. The Austrian School reminds us of the challenges, say Dan …
22 May 2020
Visit/economy/601380/moneyweeks-quiz-of-the-week-16-22-may
Economy

MoneyWeek's quiz of the week, 16-22 May

Test your recollection of the events of the last seven days with MoneyWeek's quiz of the week
22 May 2020
Visit/economy/uk-economy/601344/what-are-negative-interest-rates-and-could-they-happen-here
UK Economy

What are negative interest rates and could they happen here?

Negative interest rates – where banks pay you to borrow money – now exist in many parts of the world. John Stepek explains why they are a terrible ide…
18 May 2020

Most Popular

Visit/economy/uk-economy/601427/covid-bounce-back-loans-and-inflation
UK Economy

What bounce back loans can tell us about how we’ll pay for all this

The government will guarantee emergency "bounce back loans" for small businesses hit by Covid-19. Inevitably, many businesses will default. And there'…
1 Jun 2020
Visit/investments/commodities/601433/commodities-possibly-the-biggest-opportunity-in-todays-markets
Commodities

This looks like the biggest opportunity in today’s markets

With low interest rates and constant money-printing, most assets have become expensive. But one major asset class hasn’t. John Stepek explains why com…
2 Jun 2020
Visit/investments/commodities/gold/601444/these-seven-charts-show-exactly-why-you-must-own-gold-today
Gold

These seven charts show exactly why you must own gold today

Covid-19 is accelerating many trends that were already in existence. The rising gold price is one such trend. These seven charts, says Dominic Frisby,…
3 Jun 2020