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

The Rollright Stones

Stone Circle


For reasons beyond my control I had to choose somewhere easy to get to and on a main road for this years summer solstice sojourn, definitely not Stonehenge, Avebury is too hard to park at, the weather dissuaded me from going to Castlerigg, Anglesey didn't interest me somehow. So I decided on a trip to Oxfordshire, the mountain man in me just laughed and scoffed at my far too flat idea, Oxfordshire ? surely you jest.

But, it's been a while since my last time, and I wanted to see how the stones are faring eleven years after their yellow paint attack, there's also some other sites I'd like to see again, and some for the first time.
We got there with some time to spare, but the other people had all got here early, parking was now in a field next door to the King stone field, there was lots of cars, that's never good.
Phil saw all the people and decided to stay in the car, I didn't blame her, it was 4.30am, and there must have been 150 people at the Kings stone and the circle, not my ideal way to see some stones, scuse me.
I completely ignore the King stone and stroll down the lane to the Kings men, for a minute I wonder why they are all gathered here rather than at the stones, then I realise that the suns coming up in the wrong place, or rather my memory of the place has got turned round, like a compass that doesn't know which way is north the stones have messed with my mind and the suns coming up in the wrong place. Oh well, who am I to argue with where the sun comes from.

There was a lot of people here, it wasn't to my liking, I made my way to an empty corner and stood under a tree and took in the scene, there was much to take in. Many conflicting thoughts chased each other round my head, if there was something happening here on the summer solstice in prehistory, is this what it would be like, to see a stone circle being used is a strange thing, usually we hope for solitude and peace, but then you only get quiet stones. Today the stones were singing.

The first thing I did was check the stones for yellow paint, but it seems to have all gone, has it naturally weathered off, or did they clean it off?, with what? Either way it's nice to see them back on top form
I stand behind the tallest stone, a natural magnet for solstice offerings. Then a god awful racket started blaring out, it was like a cross between a strangled cat, and ghost that's getting busted, but it was, after all, only some bagpipes. The piper was now walking clockwise just inside the circle, towing behind him duckling like some other people, I could see on their faces that some took it all very seriously, whilst others obviously felt a bit silly. Then after two or three circuits they gathered in the middle and called out "blessings upon the land", I couldn't help giggling a bit. Of course I want the land to be blessed, but I can't help feeling it's all far too little far too late. Honestly, if you want to honour this land, get out as often as you can to as many different place as you can, climb high, walk far, delve deep, not walk round a stone circle a few times a year.
As if to make my point, as soon as the sun had risen, invisibly behind low cloud and thick trees, more than half of the other people left, is that it I thought, I wondered how far they had come, my house as the giant throws is 89 miles away.

I decided to leave the other hangers on and sloped off to the Whispering Knights. I prefer to have the stones to myself, but I'm warming to the idea of sharing them with folk who appreciate them as much as I do, though maybe not in the same way.
After the portal dolmen had further expanded my mind, I went back over to the circle and it was just then that the sun made an appearance round the trees between clouds, silently I bidded the luminary welcome to the day, then someone called out " hello suuuuun" same thing I suppose, but only one of us looked daft.
postman Posted by postman
22nd June 2015ce
Edited 22nd June 2015ce

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