Antiquarian Druidic Revival

In the 16th and 17th centuries, interest in the Druids revived. Translators of the classical texts romanticized them and turned them into characters of folklore. John Aubrey, a leading British antiquarian of the 17th century, suggested the Druids had constructed Stonehenge, which has since been refuted. But the association of Druids with Stonehenge continued well into modern times.

Aubrey's views were endorsed in the 18th century by William Stukeley, who became known as the "Arch Druid" and the founder of modern Druidism. A meeting of "British Druids" is said to have taken place in 1717, organized by John Tolan and led by Stukeley. In 1781, the Ancient Order of Druids was founded by Henry Hurle, a carpenter. This order was inspired by Freemasonry and also was a benefit society. The issue of charity split the organization in 1833. The United Ancient Order of Druids continued purely as a benefit society, while the Ancient Order of Druids retained its mystical underpinnings.

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