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 Rollright Stones –
The King Stone

Standing alone on the far side of the road, The King Stone enigmatically surveys the view, still unable to see Long Compton. Weathered by time, and the alleged chipping-away for souvenirs by antiquarians, the stone was the last part of the present-day site to be erected.

Summary for ‘The King Stone’:

Location: Long Compton, Warwickshire

Type: ‘Standing Stones & Circles’.

Condition: Restored monolith.

Access: Private trust own site; open most days, but a donation in the box across the road is appreciated.

OS Grid Ref.: SP296309

Further information: Rollright Stones Trust.

Walks posts for site:
    • Betwixt the Nortons.

The King Stone stands across the road, and the county boundary, from The King’s Men circle. It was erected in the Bronze Age, 3,500 years ago, about a thousand years after the stone circle.

This stone represents a change in culture compared to the practises of the other two phases of this site. It marks what is considered to be a Bronze Age to Saxon burial site that stretched across this ridge-line. How that is associated with the ancient trackway along the course of the road, a continuation of the Banbury Lane and The Cotswold Ridgeway route towards Crickley Hill, is unclear.

As with The King Stone, there are other large single enigmatic monoliths in this area we can compare it with. Such as The Hawk Stone near Charlbury, just a short distance away along the putative course of the Jurassic Way.

There are some strategically placed lumps of rock on the brow of the hill just beyond The King Stone. Not part of the historic site, but placed here by the Rollrights Trust for visitors to sit upon and admire the view. It’s well worth a look. Even on a grim day, the 20-mile view across the Ebrington/Ilmington Downs and up the Stour valley to the hills beyond Stratford always has something else to see.

The King Stone is another reminder that Britain’s ancient peoples valued not simply this point on the map, but the wider landscape of which it formed a part. When visiting The Rollright Stones it’s easy to look inward, at the stones. In fact, what these locations encourage you to do is to look outward, at the world all around, of which you are an essential part.