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(December 17-21, 2004)

Tim Hatch

Little Chapel in the Woods

Karl Harrison

Rollright Stones (King's Men)

Oxfordshire, England, UK

Sunday, 19 December 2004 10.58 AM

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© 2004 Karl Harrison, All Rights Reserved.

The Rollright Stones are an ancient Bronze Age (> 3000 years old) stone circle.

Within 500 yards of the stone circle are three other historic sites, the Whispering Knights, the King's Stone and a burial mound, the Archdruid's Barrow.

All the monuments feature in a folktale which gave them their strange names. The tale recounts that once all the stones were people, a king and his army, who were marching through the area when they were met by a witch who said to the king:

Seven long strides shalt thou take.
If Long Compton thou canst see
King of England thou shalt be.

The King replied:

Stick, stock, stone,
As King of England I shall be known.

So the King strode forth seven paces only to find his view of the near by village blocked by the Archdruid's Barrow, thus the witch decreed:

As long Compton thou canst not see,
King of England thou shalt not be,
Rise up stick, and stand still stone,
For King of England thou shalt be none.
Thou and thy men boar stones shall be
And myself an eldern tree.

The stone circle - the King's Men - have other folflore, they are said to be uncountable and attempts to move the stones would end in disaster. But, like the tale of King Arthur, "some day the spell will be broken", and "the stones will turn to flesh and blood and the King will lead his army in battle to conquer his enemies and rule over the land".

Another piece of folklore tells that this spell is broken nightly at midnight; also, when a nearby elder tree (said to be the old witch) is cut. A similar piece of lore tells that when the midnight bell at Long Compton is heard, the King ventures to a well at Little Rollright Spinney for a drink. Folklore alleged the stone to possess healing and good-luck properties.

Another piece of lore also tells how people would take bits off the King to protect themselves from the devil.

Another tradition tells that young girls would visit the King's Stone, usually at night, and rub their breasts on the stone, so as to aid fertility.

The connection to witchcraft is strong too, it is said that the elder tree of the witch, cut on the eve of summer solstice, so that it bled, would make the King move his head, thus temporarily breaking the spell.

Modern-day witches use the stones to perform their rites.
The Rollright Stones Trust website

Europe / UK-England

Lat: 51° 58' 30" N
Long: 2° 35' 8" W

→ maps.google.com [EXT]

Precision is: High. Pinpoints the exact spot.

Canon 20D, Canon EFS 10-22 mm f/3.5-4.5 USM at 10mm, Kaidan QuickPan Spherical III, 1/125, f/7.1, ISO 100, fixed WB.

Processed with Realviz Stitcher, Adobe Photoshop, and CubicConverter

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