‘Hassop Church comprising a sandstone temple with Etruscan portico, Grecian windows, and Tuscan pilasters. Constructed deep in the Derbyshire Dales by Francis Eyre.’
(Photograph and description by Sue Vincent)
Temple – n 1. a building designed for religious purposes.
1a) a building dedicated to the worship of a deity among any of various ancient civilisations and present day non-christian religions.
2. a place devoted to a specific purpose.
3. a local lodge of any of various fraternal orders.
[ME, fr OE & OF: OE tempel & OF temple fr. L templum – marked out for observation of auguries prb akin to L tempus time]
At some point in the history of humankind the building of temples became both geometric and symmetrical.
This development was probably quite late and may account for the well noted phenomenon that for many people ruined temples, reclaimed by nature, are infinitely more ‘romantic’, or at least more appealing, than intact ones!
The Druids, famously, performed their rites outdoors in forest groves while the stone monuments left to us in these isles, from a much earlier time, appear, in the main, asymmetrical and only roughly circular.
Much is made of such temples being open to the sky but it is the night sky, in particular, that is here their primary focus. As professor Alexander Thom conclusively proved, way back in the late nineteen sixties, after over thirty years of field research, there were sound astronomical reasons for this ‘roughness’ and the monuments were constructed to an extraordinarily high degree of mathematical precision. As such it is inconceivable that they could have come down to us from a ‘lower culture’. In this respect we do well to remember that ‘Astronomy’ went hand-in-hand with ‘Astrology’ for the ancient temple builders. Such technological innovations, as they inevitably degenerated, eventually led to the development of what we now know as mythology.
Thom’s astronomical and mathematical vision is currently being carried forward by Robin Heath, as more and more astrological landscape features are discovered in his native Wales…
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