Banburyshire Rambles Photo-Journal

Paul Mobbs’ photographic record of his walks around ‘Banburyshire’ and ‘The Irondowns’, and occasionally, as part of his work around Britain, the areas beyond.

Banburyshire’s Ancient Sites:
The Churchill Standing Stone

This is an ‘Anomalous Megalith’, unremarked, buried in a hedgerow next to a road, seemingly at risk of damage each time the hedge is flailed. Its origins are unclear, as is its current status – as it doesn’t appear on the register of scheduled monuments

Summary for ‘Churchill Standing Stone’:

Location: Churchill, Oxfordshire

Type: ‘Standing Stones & Circles’.

Condition: Standing, but buried in hedge, and for that reason difficult to spot.

Access: On edge of B4450 next to footpath.

OS Grid Ref.: SP293256

Further information: The Northern Antiquarian.

Walks posts for site:
    • The Anomalous Megalith.

Some past historical surveys have dismissed it, others have considered it an ancient standing stone. Today, for a short time after the hedge is flailed, you may just see it, until the hedge grows and covers it once more.

Historic England's ‘list’ provides an unequivocal status for ancient monuments. Being on that list confers statutory protection. Albeit that sometimes doesn’t mean much as many historic sites around here, as elsewhere in England, have been destroyed by agriculture over the past fifty years.

A paved footpath runs out from Chipping Norton along the side of the B4450, all the way to the ‘Old London Road’ crossroads. In Medieval times, before the coming of the turnpike roads, this was the road to London from Worcester, along the ridge towards Oxford. About a hundred metres before the crossroads The Churchill Standing Stone can be found in the hedge on the north/downhill side of the road.

This short, solitary stone is buried well into the hedge-line. It is visible during the Winter, though that might not be the case later in the year after the leaves have flushed.

The scars of erosion and its crust of lichens profess a great age for the stone. But its seemingly diminutive stature has led it to be routinely ignored – and slowly buried in the earth bank as leaf litter and debris from the road accumulates all around it. It’s that mystery which makes it worth a visit.