|Some girls appreciate sparkly gemstones, but today me and Lissy wanted big old ones in the mellow yellow harvest landscape of north Oxfordshire. Neither of us had ever seen the Churchill village stones so that's where we headed.
Churchill is full of big old rocks, all of oolitic limestone which is the same local stone used to build the Rollright stones and the Hawk stone. They litter the edges of the road, used as kerbstones and a huge monument in the form of half menhir/half war memorial to an 18th century bloke dubbed 'The father of Geology' who came from Churchill which dominates the centre of the village. But the stones we had come to see were eight stones now aligned on a path leading up to the church, once part of something perhaps much bigger.
The eight stones placed closely together are all of the same rough size and shape as many of the original Rollrights, just a couple of miles down the road, and most notably, in the same weathered condition. Many of the stones used as kerbstones at the roadsides in the village were not as weathered, but we did notice that some of the larger ones bore tell-tale signs of a different past, more weathered, dressed differently, more ceremonial and probably part of the same something that the alignment were once part of.... but what, we couldn't say.We ventured into the gargoyle-encrusted church where a man was vigorously pumping away at a massive organ, lost in the fabulous music he was making. Perched right at the top of the village, Lissy felt that this space now occupied by the church would have been geographically perfect for some ancient ceremonial monument: top of a hill, close to many tumuli, in a line with the Rollrights, near a water source, and so on....
I thought of TMA 'new boy' Dominic_Brayne and wondered what he would have made of this place. Looking at maps it feels as if it could be a place where a couple of leys meet up. But I don't know about these things.
... and unknown...
Pausing a while longer in Churchill, we leaned over into the Victorian fountain to sip the springwater finally jumping in to cool down. It tasted sweet and wonderful but gave us both a longing for icecream and cakes.... so enroute to Taston to see the Thorstone we stopped in Chadlington to waste our pennies on Cornettos and fairy cakes. But no more than 20 metres from the church at Churchill as we were leaving the village towards Sarsden, something caught my eye at the corner of a farm track. Was it a gatepost, or was it a standing stone? We screeched to a halt to investigate and it turned out to be four stones; one vertical and dressed on two sides, another small one standing right up against it and two further stones fallen behind it, the same size at the standing one, all in the same state of weathering as the alignment. We had no idea what it was, but there they were.
I subsequently discovered these were the Churchill Three stones
...and a new one for Lissy...
I'd liked to have sought out the Goose stones, which are very close by, but without a print out of baza's careful directions and lacking a Landranger 191 (I MUST remember to buy that bloody map!) I didn't see the point of trying as they are notoriously hard to find. Wild goose chase...? Yeah, OK, its not funny.... So we went straight to the Thor stone at Taston, just a couple of miles away. Lissy hadn't seen it before and liked it a lot. We sat leaning against it happily slurping our ice creams, gobbling cake and smokin' tabs. A car swished past, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone I thought I recognised. "There goes Prince William", I said casually. And it did look just like Prince-bloody-William! But I guess he doesn't drive an F-reg VW Golf.
Posted by Jane
16th August 2003ce
Edited 10th November 2003ce
Jane's TMA Blog
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