She remembers larks hovering above his head and canine violets in the woods, as well as his father's battles with the moles and his night shifts when the druids arrived for the midsummer celebrations.
Especially Jean Gray, whose father, John Moffatt, was the keeper of Stonehenge in the 1930s, remembers that the great stone circle was fun as a childhood playground.
L Grey's story emerged as part of a project called Your Stonehenge managed by English Her itage to collect the stories of people with personal connections to the Wiltshire prehistoric monument.
Now 91 years old and living in Melbourne, she contacted the conservation charity to describe her unique childhood.
Father and daughter, as well as Grey's mother, Emily, and younger brother, Ian, lived in a cottage provided by the Department of Public Works near the stones His father, a World War I veteran from Glasgow, worked at the stones from 1934-38, and Gray was five when they arrived.
"Dad was the keeper of the stones," she said. "He cut the grass, tended the area and made sure no one damaged them. Every now and then school groups would come in. charabanc [a bus or an autocar] for a visit but I remember it was empty most of the time. It was my playground. "
In summer the grass was up to the knees, strewn with buttercups, and the larks made their nests in the clumps. Gray remembers ly on his back and watching the birds high in the blue sky. “Most of the time it was a quiet and safe place to play around the stones. No restrictions. "
It can be difficult, especially in winter." There was no gas, no electricity, no electricity. hot water and only outhouses. We were very poor. The wages of the Public Works Department were not very generous and the rabbits trapped by my father helped supplement our diet and in the fall we were pushing mushrooms. "
School was about three years old for miles. In the morning Grey's dad drove her there on his motorbike, but she had towalk home. “Fortunately, the traffic was not very heavy at the time. But it is the beautiful days of June and July that remain engraved in his mind. "Even now, 70 years later, Stonehenge has an enduring place in my memory - the summer days and the larks.
Susan Greaney, an English heritage historian said: “A personal story like this really brings Stonehenge's more recent past to life. Although demolished in 1938, the house Jean lived in can be seen from old photos, which show the cottages, their large back gardens and also mushroom rings strewn across the landscape, just like she describes it.
Greaney said the number of visitors was on the increase during the time Gray lived there as cars became more and more common and Stonehenge was considered a perfect day.
More than 100 people are now needed at Stonehenge to show visitors the site, maintain it and ensure the safety of the monument. “It must have been intense for him,” added Greaney. "People have been visiting Stonehenge for centuries, but there aren't many people who can say they lived there - it must have been an amazing place to grow up.
- The target Your Stonehenge exhibit runs until August 2022 and will feature a series of new displays over the coming months. English Heritage asks anyone with a story of how Stonehenge played a role in their life to contact us via [email protected]