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

Kit's Coty

Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech


From [a mansion called The Friars] we bent our way towards the hills, over the spot where the Saxons, under their first landing, were routed by the British king Vortimier, after a long and bloody battle, in which Horsa, and Catigern, Vortimer's brother, fighting hand to hand, slew each other.

Tradition says, that Horsa was buried at a place near Chatham, now called Horsted from that circumstance, and that Catigern was interred where he fell. The spot, according to the general opinion, is marked by a monument named Kit's Coty House, composed of four immense stones, which many, however, suppose to have been a druidical altar.

[...] As my reader may possibly object to the word Coity, I beg to remind him that this cromlech is variously designated by different writers: Camden calls it Keith Coty House; Lambarde and Philipott, Citscotehouse; and Kilburne, Kits Cothouse.

The height of the pile is between nine and ten feet, and the upper or largest stone weighs about ten tons and a haf; but, as it is most accurately represented in the print [...] and from its vicinity to the road is too well known to require a minute description, I shall only notice the art shown in the placing of the stones, which, I believe, is not generally observed.

The two blocks which form the sides, stand about six feet apart, and lean a little towards each other, so that they could only fall inwards; but they are secured from doing so by the third set transversely between them; and the three are bound firmly together by the fourth and largest, which is placed on their tops as a roof.

At a short distance below Kit's Coty House, towards the south-west, there are several large stones, which lie in such a confused heap that their number cannot be correctly ascertained; we judged it to be about twenty: and on the hill side, to the north-east by east of Kit's Coty House, there are several more lying near to each other; both these collections seem to have formed circles resembling, on a small scale, that of Stonehenge, and like Kit's Coty House, were reared by the Britons either for a sacrificial altar, or a monumental trophy. Besides those already mentioned there are several large stones scattered about the fields in this neighbourhood, some of which have names given to them.
From A brief historical and descriptive account of Maidstone and its environs by Lampreys, 1834. I like his easy style of writing. Though I'm not quite sure why he thinks I might take offence at Coity.. maybe because it sounds like saying if a house is made of coits it must be coity? which is a bit too silly and slangy.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
17th April 2016ce

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