The Rollright Stones

Ok – I admit that I was trying to find pictures of Warwick Castle and St Mary’s Church Warwick but as regular followers of my blog are aware I had something of a catastrophe with my photos so its not necessarily straight forward – so when I looked at this batch from Oxfordshire and immediately knew what they were I thought I would blog about them even though megalithic monuments are well outside my usual remit – but then who doesn’t like a stone circle in the landscape? The stone circle known as The King’s Men has stood since 2,500 BC give or take a few years. Its made from local limestone and is very heavily weathered. Don’t try and count them, they are apparently uncountable. Essentially the aim is to count the stones three times and reach the same total on each occasion – if you can do this then you shall have your heart’s desire but be warned supernatural forces will prevent you from making an accurate count.

The King Stone stands on its own and is probably a burial marker rather than having an association with The King’s Men stone circle. It’s also 1000 years younger. It’s been suggested that the name for the stone originates in Anglo Saxon times when it was used as a meeting place but it’s a matter for speculation rather than fact – though the archeology of the area does reveal an Anglo-Saxon cemetery nearby.

Oldest by far are the so-called Whispering Knights which stand away from the stone circle. The whispering knight are a dolmen burial chamber with a fallen cap stone. The portal description is because the standing stones look like a giant doorway.

And if you like your legends – the king and his courtiers were turned to stone by a witch – who was presumably having a bad day. She encountered the king and his court and informed him that if he could take seven strides and see Long Compton that he would be King of England. As he made his seventh stride a ridge rose up obscuring his view – and the witch turned them into stone. The little group of whispering knights were supposed to have been plotting some kind of treachery when they were caught by the spell. And the witch? Well she apparently turned into an elder tree. If the tree is cut down the spell will be broken. – everything you need to know!

And for those of you who like a good book and a list:

Burnham, Andy, The Old Stones: A Field Guide to the Megalithic Sites of Britain and Ireland

Burl, Aubrey, Stone Circles of the British Isles

Haddingham, Evan, Circles and Standing Stones