The Rollright Stones

Stone Circle
Nearest town: Chipping Norton
Nearest village: Long Compton
Map reference: SP 296308

The Rollright Stones Image
One of the most famous circles in the British Isles, Rollright consists of 77 stones

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This magnificent group consists of a stone circle (The King's Men), a standing stone (The King Stone , 73m/239ft NE) and a burial chamber (The Whispering Knights, 357m/0.2mi ESE). Dating back probably to 3000 BC, there are about 77 lumps of weathered limestone around the 31.4m (103ft) perfect circle, some nearly lost in the short turf.
    In 18th century, the antiquarian William Stukeley described this circle as The greatest Antiquity we have yet seen... corroded like wormeaten wood by the harsh Jaws of Time. Early in the 17th century only 26 stones were standing; in 1882 there was a major re-erection of the remaining stones. Most of them are under 1.2m (4ft) high and they look like huge rotted teeth.
    There is no other stone ring near the Rollright Stones, but the circle lies in an area of henges. Its name has nothing to do with any supernatural rotation of the stones, but it may derive from Hrolla-landriht as early spellings like Rollindricht suggest, the land belonging to Hrolla.
    According to a legend, the Rollright Stones were once human beings: the army of a King whose story is explained in the King Stone page. There are other legends, though; one is that the King's Men are uncountable. A baker who tried to ascertain their number by placing a loaf on top of every stone was not successful, because he did not have enough loaves. Another story tells that at midnight on New Year's Day the stones go downhill to drink at a spring in Little Rollright spinney.

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