Saturday 17 February 2024

Rollright Stones

For some time now I’ve wanted to visit the Rollright stones in Oxfordshire. Ive watched Documentaries on the stones, read about them and seen lots of photos, but I hadn’t yet had the chance to pay them a visit myself.
Because 2020 has been the strangest of years to say the least, there's lots I was planning to see and do that probably has little to no chance of happening this year.

However, not one to be easily defeated, the Rollright stones are in a reasonably comfortable driving distance to visit in a day (a 200 mile round trip for me). So, I decided seeing the stones was one goal I wasn’t willing to let slip away this year and headed down to Oxfordshire on a sunny August day to wander the Cotswolds and see these magnificent stones.

One of my main concerns (which led to hideous indecision right until the final moment when I jumped in the car) was how busy the stones might be, but my concerns weren’t met with too much horror when I arrived, and found only 4 people around the Kings men. During the few hours I spent at the stones, there was a steady flow of people coming and going. Seemingly most of them just passing by on the busy road running between the King Stone and the rest of the complex. Most appeared to just drop in for a brief look and head off again, it wasn’t until past midday when a huge group arrived with tables and chairs to have a picnic I decided it was time to move on as things were getting too busy for my liking.

The story of the stones echoes that of many stone circles in Britain. Living souls turned to stone in a series of dramatic events. Often dancing and merriment is involved, but on this occasion, a witch and a would be king falling foul of spells and supernatural form a truly fascinating spectacle.
The folklore which has grown up around Bronze Age and Pre-Historic sites is incredibly interesting and truly demonstrates their relevance and importance in society through the ages, even after their original religious and ritualistic meaning had been lost, they maintain a strong position within the community, and although their narrative may have changed over the centuries their significance has not diminished. 

As ever when I visit these sites I find myself filled with wonder. And leave with far more questions than answers. What took place here thousands of years ago? What did this site mean to the people who built it, and to the generations that followed? Bronze age Britain is my great historic passion and has been for many years. Partly because of the different and fascinating world that existed at that time, and partly because we will never know all of the secrets and mysteries of that ancient time. Only echos of this ancient past remain, some above ground, others below. Everything else is lost to time, eternally.


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