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

Hautville's Quoit

Standing Stone / Menhir


From 'The History and Antiquities of the County of Somerset' - three completely huge tomes forming a major achievement written by the Reverend John Collinson in the 1780s, before he died (exhausted, no doubt) in his early 30s.
"In the road lies an immense stone called Hautville's Coit (a name that has sustained for many ages) and is by tradition reported to have been thrown hither by that gigantick champion Sir John Hautville, from Mays-Knolle-Hill [Maes Knoll] upwards of a mile distant, the place of his abode. The tump on that hill is also affirmed to have been the cleanings of the same man's spade, and so confident are the common people of the reality of the manoevre, that a farmhouse erected of late years near the coit was distinguished by the title of Hautville's Coit Farm, which doubtless it will preserve until records are no more.

"This stone was formerly of a vast magnitude, being computed to have weighed upwards of 30 tons; but the waggon loads of fragments that have been broken from it at different times, for the purpose of mending the roads, have diminished its consequence as to bulk and appearance, though not as to antiquity or the design of its erection, for it was part of a very remarkable monument of antiquity, which has distinguished the parish for many ages and has diverted the steps of many a traveller... [ie, the circles at Stanton Drew]."

So, even the Reverend thought the stone ought to have been bigger, much bigger, at one point. Was it really ever 30 tons? Is it just a tall story (like the legend?) - or does its proximity to the road mean it was used for roadmending? Or is the fact that the story connects Stanton Drew with the prehistorically occupied Maes Knoll (a prominent hill from the circles) the most important thing?
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
27th July 2004ce
Edited 27th July 2004ce

Comments (1)

As one of the last of the Hauteville family in the UK (though there are still many in the (former) Colonies.....) I was sad to see how little sign was left of the stone compared to when I saw it first in the seventies, on one of many trips to Glastonbury. Even the myth and legend seems to have faded locally.

My thanks to this site and those who have commented on it for keeping some of the magic alive..... I fear soon it will be all that is visible of the stone named after my forebear.
Posted by Hauteville
14th January 2009ce
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