After drinking in the views for a while, I carry on off the hilltop. Here the Cotswold Way follows a busier road and has been moved off the verge and slightly down the slope, out of sight of the road. But I choose to stick to the verge instead, because my first stop-off of the day beckons. I remember Carl having trouble finding this stone, and as I pass a locked and chicken-wired gate I wonder if it’s going to be particularly accessible. I’m therefore very pleased to see it from the road, through a little gap into the trees. Access is as easy as can be, the stone is only yards from the road (it’s quite a way northeast of the layby that Carl refers to).
I didn’t really know what to expect from this “disputed antiquity”. It turns out to be a dinky little irregular limestone slab, heavily moss-covered and orientated with the long side SW-NE, parallel with the road. As reported, it has a (blocked) hole through it. On the NW face of the stone, the hole has the appearance of being counter-sunk, although whether this was intentional or caused by something inserted into the hole being turned and causing wear I can’t say. Apart from the hole, it’s not obviously worked, but the thick moss and the years of wear could easily mask any signs that might be there. I really like it, hidden away and passed by lots of unsuspecting drivers every day. I wouldn’t want to commit to its antiquity, but it’s worth paying your respects if you come this way. A promising start to the day, anyway.
After spending an enjoyable hour in the pretty village of Chipping Campden I decided to have a look for the Kiftsgate Stone.
Taking the minor road west out of Chipping Campden I soon came to a convienient lay by near to where the stone is said to be.
So far so good.
The trouble was I couldn't find the stone!
The area where the stone stands is wooded and very overgrown. I searched up and down but couldn't see it. If the stone is quite small it could have easily been hidden by the brambles.
The fact that this stone is not already on TMA does make me wonder if it's prehistoric or not. Perhaps someone knows or will give it a look. It's a scheduled monument, but there's no information via 'Magic'. There's a photo you can enlarge at Celia Haddon's website. She says it's a small stone, and was the location of the Hundred's moot in Anglo Saxon times. It looks an irregular strange shape, and it's got a hole in it.
A little bit from 'Notes and Queries' (June 7th, 1942, p358):
The Kiftsgate stone from which the hundred takes its name is hidden away among bushes in Weston Park, just off the high road which runs from Chipping-Campden to Broadway. Canon Bourne, Vicar of the parish in which Weston Park lies, who died at the end of last century, at a good age, related that he knew an old man years before who recollected George III being proclaimed king at this boundary stone.