Sunday, 21 November 2010

The Rollright Stones

Thursday 30 May 1998. Having come out of the Motor Museum we saw this excellent chop-topped half-cab single decker bus waiting to pick up passengers for a trip.

The Cotswolds Tour bus wasn't quite ready to leave Bourton-on-the-Water but we were and made our way back to the car to find our last stone circle of the week, the Rollright Stones.

The Rollright Stones are so called because they are close to twin villages of that name.

There are two circles of stones and one monolith. This is the larger of the two stone circles and is known as the King's Men. Legend has it that these are the petrified figures of knights who come to life once a year at the dead of night.

The stone is of a softer substance that those at Stonehenge and Avebury, and thousands of years of wind, rain and the acidic sweat of curious fingers have eroded the stones leaving them in the gnarled twisted shapes that we can see today.

A bit like me really, but in my case it's a dodgy back rather than the sweat of curious fingers... sigh...

A short distance away is a smaller circle of larger stones that lean towards each other in a tight group. Not surprisingly, these have been given the collective name, the Whispering Knights.

Nobody seems sure whether it was a small stone circle or is a collapsed chambered tomb - what they call a quoit in Cornwall.

Across the main road from the circle is the King Stone - supposedly the very king who the knights were commanded by.

The railings prevent further damage by sweaty fingers but do not add much to the mystery and atmosphere!

Speaking of quoits, we saw a tumulus marked on our map - we were using one of the official tourist maps published by Estate Publications. They show just about anything of interest whether it's an ancient ruin or a one-man marmalade maker.

This turned out to be a half-collapsed burial chamber: a barrow, quoit, tumulus - whatever you want to call it. Unfortunately, although there was a small obelisk with a notice from the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works which used to be the government department for preserving these old artifacts, it fails to give the tomb a name. So if anyone recognises this and can provide me with a name, I'd be grateful for any information. I can't be certain now just where it was, even with the aid of the map which I still have...

Large versions of the photos: all the photographs from this holiday can be viewed as a set at Flickr.

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