Books, Prehistory, Long Barrows of the Cotswolds, Section 2 Long Barrows, Warwickshire

 70 The King Stone

Warwickshire is in Section 2 Long Barrows.

Books, Prehistory, Long Barrows of the Cotswolds, Section 2 Long Barrows, Warwickshire, 70 The King Stone

King Stone [Map]

Warwickshire, 59 N.W. Parish of Long Compton. 70*.

Latitude 51° 58' 33". Longitude 1° 34' 07". Height above O.D. about 740 feet.

Stukeley's account of this stone and the Long Barrow adjacent to it is as follows: — "To the north-east [of the circle at Rollright] is a great tumulus or barrow of a long form, which I suppose to have been of an Arch-Druid. Between it and our temple [the circle] is a huge stone standing upright, called the ' King Stone the stone is 8 foot high, and 7 broad, which together with the barrow, may be seen in Tables III., V., but the barrow has had much dug away from it. 'Tis now above 6o foot in length, 20 in breadth, flattish at top. I know not whether there were more stones standing originally about this barrow".

Doubts have been cast upon this explanation, but a visit of inspection on November 24th, 1920 made it seem quite certain that Stukeley was correct in regarding the mound as a Long Barrow. The deep trench between the mound and the road which has puzzled antiquaries is a disused quarry. It was probably not in existence in Stukeley's time, nor is it shown on any of his Plates. Similar old quarries appear by the side of the road in the adjacent fields.

The stone is under the protection of the Ancient Monuments Branch. It may be the remains of a row surrounding the Long Barrow; or more probably, one of the uprights of a side-chamber approached from without. In support of the latter suggestion, made here for the first time, I would call attention to the semi-circular hollow or notch which can be seen in the accompanying photograph on the right hand side of the stone. This recalls the similar notches in the pairs of uprights mounted in front of the chambers at Belas Knap, Rodmarton, Norn's Tump and elsewhere.

A good deal of folklore will be found in Sir Arthur Evans' paper.

[Since the above account was written a plan has been discovered in the Lukis Museum, Guernsey, which fully corroborates it. The excavation between the Long Barrow and the road is definitely called "Stone Pit," proving that in 1840, when the plan was made by Sir Henry Dryden and the Rev. W. C. Lukis, it was still being worked, or at any rate that there was then no doubt as to its character. At the west end of the barrow is marked a round barrow almost touching it. At the east end is a "stone pit dug 20 years ago," i.e., in 1820. The dimensions of the King Stone itself, as given on this plan, are:- Height 8 feet 2 inches ; width, E. and W., 5 feet, N. and S. 1 foot 3 inches. On the drawing another stone is marked, but in buff colour, which according to Lukis's system, indicates that it was not erect. This stone touches the N E side of the King Stone, and is about 2 feet by 1 foot in size. The orientation of the Long Barrow would appear to be E.N.E. and W.S.W.]

R. Plot. Nat. Hist, of Oxfordshire, 1677, Plate xvi. (view).

W. Stukeley, Abury, 1746, (quoted above).

Folklore, Vol. VI., 1895, pp. 1, seq.

W. Stukeley, Commonplace Book, now in the Library of the Wiltshire Archæological Society at Devizes, fol. 84. (Letter to him from Roger Gale, dated Sept., 1719).