Comprising three features, a stone circle and two stone features including several large stones, thought to be the remains of eroded burial chambers.
A perfect circle 104ft (31.7m) across, starting out as 80 pillars of stone, lined up so they touched or nearly did except for a south east entrance. Made from local limestone that has been very weathered and eaten away over time. There is no way now to tell how high they were to start, they now vary considerably in height up to 9 feet tall. Some suggest this site dates from 500 years before Avebury and longer before Stonehenge. Although they appear eaten away and fragile and so we might question if this material would last for 5,000 years, they have been in this state since the 1600's. Carbon dating of material under one of the stones dated it as later 1792BC, still a long time ago but later than Stonehenge and Avebury by some considerable time.
So how many stones are there today, some say 28, some 70, some 77, the problem is what you count as a stone with the weathering. Some parts are said by some to be pieces that have fallen off others. In the 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. Its also now said that its impossible to count the number of stones in the ring.
Perhaps the stones are not eaten away as much as it first appears, they have after all been the same since the 1600's, take a look at them, photograph them, and remember that some have been put in or re-erected. Now what do you see!
There is quite a lot of hype about this ring, some claiming it is widely visited when its total parking is a few spaces in a lay-by, and this appears sufficient. I have visited a number of times and many times we have been the only people there. It is worth visiting, in part because it is different to others.
Spirals of energy. Along with other stone circles and some other features you find many references to energy being able to be detected by dowsing and with pendulums. We have a set of dowsing rods and have taken them to a number of stone circles and you do get reactions, even those who you meet, who don't know what is going to happen, when asked to hold the rods and go to particular places get the same reactions. I have never been as convinced about pendulums, they are too easily influenced by what the person is expecting to happen.
Legends and the names of groups of stones
There are interesting legends and writings associated with this ring of stones. Although many stone circles and the like have stories about people being turned to stone, often for having a good time on a Sunday, and in particular dancing, the fear of God was a common feature of Christian teaching after all. Other parts of legends that put people in major danger if they see something going on or others was often to keep people away at set times.
One of the reasons this story is different is that it appeared very early on, first printed in 1585 and referring to a king ruling from 1488-1551, they also include people who existed, including Mother Shipton of Shipton-under-Wychwood, Oxfordshire (c.1488-1551). There are other stories relating to a Mother Shipton who made many prophesies is involved, and there are many legends about her, usually they are connected with Knaresborough, North Yorkshire see http://www.mothershiptonscave.com/main.htm where she was said to have been born near the petrifying well in 1488, the well and cave turns anything left at it to stone, and does so today, but by deposits not magic.
There would appear to be several versions of the legends, see the versions at http://www.britainexpress.com/articles/Ancient_Britain/rollright-stones.htm and at http://www.rollrightstones.co.uk
There would appear to have been a long history of the craft, that is traditional witchcraft as opposed to the New Age 'Wican' variety created more recently, in this area. Today you are likely to come across the various New Age groups while visiting this and some other sites. Traditional craft people are far more secretive.
This ring is widely used today by those who practice New Age Pagan belief systems, but don't let the idea of meeting witches and others put you off they are the easiest going of all and their belief system does not include converting others. So what may you come across, a Pagan wedding (handfasting), healing, meditation or similar. Perhaps on the special days of the year to these groups, you may have celebrations, and often several different groups or beliefs will be sharing the event, getting along just fine together. If you come across anyone dancing nude around the stones its likely to be a group of students undertaking a dare.
It has suffered from vandalism over the years, and this in part maybe because its easily approached from urban areas, for this reason it may be wise to see earlier than later, while it still exists and is open.
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