The autumnal equinox is upon us and the Wall Street Journal recognizes it with one of those quirky human interest stories that makes someone look like a total lunatic, this time giving the treatment to Arthur Pendragon, Druid King of Britain:
SALISBURY, England—Over a cup of coffee at a recent meeting of the Round Table, the managers of Stonehenge learned that King Arthur Pendragon, the Chosen Chief of the Loyal Arthurian Warband Druid order, was preparing his warriors for battle.
At stake: free parking.
For years, Mr. Pendragon, Druid King of Britain, has parked his ancient Kawasaki motorbike on a dirt track just off the A303 highway and walked the short distance across a field to conduct ceremonies at this ancient stone circle.
Now, English Heritage, the government unit that manages the site and other landmark buildings and monuments, wants to stop him and others from parking so close to the stones.
“I work at Stonehenge as a Druid,” the 60-year-old Mr. Pendragon says. “English Heritage are acting like spoiled brats.”
English Heritage says cars parked on the dirt track “represent a significant visual intrusion” upon Stonehenge. Instead, it wants visitors to pay £5, or about $8, to park at an official site more than a mile away.
The white-haired Druid king is doing what he has done for more than 20 years. He is mobilizing the Druids’ “warrior arm.” Mr. Pendragon has written to the U.K. culture minister, heckled politicians and filed freedom-of-information requests to access research conducted by English Heritage into local traffic conditions. The Druid chieftain—who is also running to be a member of parliament for the local town of Salisbury next year—says he wants “to start an international debate” into the parking issue.
Stonehenge may date from as far back as 3000 B.C., though nobody is sure who built it or why. Modern-day Druids, who follow an ancient pagan religion about which little detailed historical evidence survives, gather at the site four times a year (as they will do Tuesday for the autumnal equinox) to celebrate the longest day, the shortest day and twice when the day and the night are equal in length. They are not alone. This year, 37,000 people—most of them non-Druids—attended the raucous Stonehenge summer solstice party…
[continues at the Wall Street Journal]