This one had been on my ‘hit list’ for a while so I am please to have had the opportunity to pay the site a visit.
Despite having an O/S map we still got lost in the maze of lanes and had to stop and ask a chap who was supervising his young son clearing out a drainage ditch – his son didn’t seem too happy stood knee high in water, in the rain, poking away with a stick!
Nice to see the Dickensian spirit is alive and well!
The good news for us is that he knew exactly where the burial chamber was and gave clear instructions. Two minutes later we were there.
Karen parked at the top of the lane leading to Coldharbour Farm and stayed in the car with Sophie and Dafydd while I donned my wellies and squelched down the lane.
As you walk towards the farm there is a metal field gate on your left. The stones are easily seen from here. I chose to hop over the gate and walk the short distance to the remains of the burial chamber.
The two larger stones are about 1.5 metres high and there are several smaller stones scattered about. Despite the rain blowing in under my cap I really enjoyed this site and am pleased that it lived up to my expectations. The stones are a lovely pink colour and covered with yellow and white lichen – very colourful. The tree is still there but doesn’t distract from the site. The only thing which did was the large dog turd curled up in the centre of the chamber. No, I didn’t remove it!
We visited this site a year or two ago just as the sun was going down. It's in the middle of a grassy field and we did trot down to the nearest farmhouse to ask permission - but it turned out to be converted into holiday cottages. So well we hopped over the gate and ran over.
Just a couple of stones propped up against each other, quite small - but a beautifully pinky colour that just glowed in the sunset, a lovely calm friendly spot.
Here [Abson], and at Wick, Roman coins and other remains have been found; footpaths can be partly traced here, and a field, called the "Chestles, or Castles," is still pointed out as the scene of a great battle between Ceaulin, a Saxon chieftain, and three British kings, all of whom fell beneath his sword. It took place about the year 577.
.. striking up an unfrequented-looking lane, which is paved like an old Roman road, you arrive at the Chestles field. The three monumental stones, honey-combed and moss-covered with age, rear their old heads from a sepulchral mound. The whole erection bears traces of the greatest antiquity, no inscription or chiselling being visible on their surface. The farmer to whom the field belongs is a great enemy to antiquarians, and has rendered the field, by a malicious sort of ingenuity, almost inaccessible.
I wonder what the malicious ingenuity was. *It sounds like he could be talking about Abson here, but actually the next sentence mentions the church of St Bartholomew, which is in Wick, so it seems the legend is indeed associated with the three stones.
According to this information from the South Gloucestershire SMR, http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/catalogue/search/fr.cfm?rcn=SGLOSSMR-SG2402
the field in which the stones lie has been variously called Chestles, Chissels and Castles. There used to be a mound associated with the stones, and there were five stones here until about 1760. (It's not immediately clear to me which references given on the webpage refer to which bits of this information).