The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian


Burial Chamber


Here [Abson], and at Wick, Roman coins and other remains have been found; footpaths can be partly traced here, and a field, called the "Chestles, or Castles," is still pointed out as the scene of a great battle between Ceaulin, a Saxon chieftain, and three British kings, all of whom fell beneath his sword. It took place about the year 577.

.. striking up an unfrequented-looking lane, which is paved like an old Roman road, you arrive at the Chestles field. The three monumental stones, honey-combed and moss-covered with age, rear their old heads from a sepulchral mound. The whole erection bears traces of the greatest antiquity, no inscription or chiselling being visible on their surface. The farmer to whom the field belongs is a great enemy to antiquarians, and has rendered the field, by a malicious sort of ingenuity, almost inaccessible.
I wonder what the malicious ingenuity was. *It sounds like he could be talking about Abson here, but actually the next sentence mentions the church of St Bartholomew, which is in Wick, so it seems the legend is indeed associated with the three stones.

From 'Cross Country' by Walter Thornbury (1861).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
24th February 2012ce
Edited 24th February 2012ce

Comments (2)

Made me nostalgic that ;). You can view at a long distance the stones from the Lansdown Cromwellian battlefield, the stones stand huddled together in this enormous flat field and I can well imagine farmers moving stones from this fertile piece of land.
As for Abson church, a Saxon male sheela-na-gig stone can be seen fairly high up on the east wall, along with cross knot stones captured in the fabric of the church.
And hasn't the author got his battlefields mixed up I always thought it was at Hinton Hill that the famous 'three kings battle of 577 AD' took place....
moss Posted by moss
26th February 2012ce
Ah but mixed up all in the name of a good story Moss :)

I've not been along the edge of Lansdown for ages so it's nice to hear you can see the stones clearly from up there.
The church sounds intriguing though.
Have I shown you this before
you can browse by county
mmmm romanesque sculpture. I can't really be doing with anything more modern when it comes to churches :)
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
26th February 2012ce
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