Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Whispering Knights and Mysterious Stone Circles.

I've always known about the Rollright Stones but up until now not really thought about them that much. Now that we live so close it seems churlish not to pay them a visit. Home to pagan rituals, myths and legends this ancient circle dates back to Neolithic times and according to the leaflet I picked up in our local farm shop the stone circle was constructed around 2500 - 2000BC.

Legend has it that a King and his army were marching across to the Cotswolds when they were stopped by an evil witch who tricked the King into thinking he would become ruler of the land. Needless to say being the wicked witch that she was, she turned him and his army to stone instead!

Now hang on a minute, one minute these soldiers are marching forward, the next standing in a circle???  What's all that about?? I've never heard of that as an army manoeuvre before!

Anyway a week or so ago Henry suggested we should take doglett for her afternoon walk to the Rollright stones. It was nearly dark, cold, damp and foggy! Mmmmmmmmm, can't say it filled me with enthusiasm. Oh well...the dog needs her exercise so why not?

It's a short car drive away so we were there in a few minutes. Our previous visit was in late summer, hedgerows full of blackberries and sloes, autumn leaves just starting to fall and it was a warm, sunny day. High up and overlooking the hills towards Chipping Norton, tonight it's a cold spot and there is an eery light that hangs.....a stillness about the place that is chilling.

Who knows what ancient rituals and ceremonies took place here? Only the stones can tell....and they ain't talking!

A short walk along the path and we find the whispering Knights. A huddle of enourmous stones that really do look as if they are planning treacherous deeds. The surprising thing is that these were built around 3800 - 3000BC, long before the stone circle. So was it the same witch who turned these chaps to stone too?

As we head back towards the car our pace quickens and I resist the temptation to glance back over my shoulder...Truffle is drawn by the call of roosting pheasants and being the silly Spaniel that she is we have to make every effort to stop her running off into the mist. The coldness is starting to bite and even once we're back in the car, feet and hands are like ice blocks. It's a short ride back and we're thankful for the warmth and comfort of our little home.

Rollright Stones


  1. Ahem... As your semi resident folktale expert I am obliged to mention that I tell a variant of what you outline. Please don't yawn like that... The witch isn't wicked at all - except in the modern sense - she saves England from invasion, at the cost of her own existence. This is my signature piece! - perhaps I'll inflict it on you this Xmas..? Pagans still hold ceremonies at the circle and regard it as a sacred place. You should see it on a summer's day: glorious views, warm and peaceful. The other superstition about the circle is that nobody can count how many stones there are; it is very difficult with the stones so weather worn. I like the place very much.

  2.'s a place of changing moods and mysteries indeed.

    Inflict away..we look forward to it!

    I still think turning people to stone is a bit wicked, she could have spared them and turned them into frogs or something but then I suppose we wouldn't have a national treasure on our doorstep!



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