Daughter of 1930s Stonehenge custodian shares her memories of historic site


The daughter of a 1930s Stonehenge custodian is sharing her memories of the mysterious landmark for an English Heritage project.

ean Grey, 91 and now living in Melbourne, Australia, grew up among the stones thanks to her father Jon Moffat.

She contacted English Heritage through her granddaughter to share her memories of living at the cottage that stood at Stonehenge Bottom in the 1930s.

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Jean Grey at Stonehenge 1936 Credit Jean Grey

Ms Grey was five years old when she moved to the landmark and her story will feature in the charity’s Your Stonehenge photographic exhibition this year.

Ms Grey said: “Dad was the custodian of the Stones. He cut the grass and maintained the area round the huge monoliths and made sure no-one damaged them.

“Occasionally, school groups would arrive by charabanc for a conducted tour and sometimes visitors who were wealthy enough to have their own transport.

“Most of the time it was a quiet, safe place for me to play around the Stones. No neighbours. No other children. No electricity and only an outside earth toilet.

“There was no rubbish collection – a pit was dug in the far corner of the back garden and everything was buried, including my father’s old, chain-driven motorbike.”

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1930s aerial photo of Stonehenge custodian’s cottage_Historic England Archive

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She added: “In the autumn we’d go mushrooming. We were told the circles they grew in were fairy rings. Even now, 70 years later, Stonehenge has a lasting place in my memory – the summer days and the skylarks.”

The house Ms Grey lived in was demolished in 1938, however the remnants of the hedge are said to appear every year.

Susan Greaney, English Heritage historian, said: “People have been visiting Stonehenge for centuries, but there’s not very many people who can say they lived there – it must have been an amazing place to grow up. We’re really pleased to now be able to tell the story of someone who did.”

The Your Stonehenge exhibition has been extended until August 2022 and will feature a series of new displays over the coming months.



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