Bit controversial this one. The stones that make up the base of the fountain on The Old Steine in Brighton allegedly once stood in a circle in close proximity to the Goldstone. Some of these same stones now surround The Goldstone in Hove Park, though it was always believed to have been a large solitary stone in its original position. They're certainly of the same material as The Goldstone and its attendant circle, a sandstone and flint conglomerate, except one or two which are genuine sarsens. However, according to other sources, the fountain stones were part of a circle near the Wellsbourne (or Whalesborn, the now hidden river) in the valley which constitutes The Old Steine and which gives the area it's name (Steine – Stone). Yet another source states that they were simply stones scattered along the banks of the river and that they were gradually tidied up over the centuries until they came to their present resting place and had no sacred or special significance whatsoever. Whatever the truth is, it's testimony to the gradual destruction of ancient relics in the area over a long period, but I guess that it still acts as a central meeting place, albeit one where most of those gathered the day I was there were clutching cans of lager.
We don't really do big stones much down here in Sussex so it felt quite an honour to photograph this monster. I'd seen old photos of the Goldstone and didn't quite appreciate just how bloody huge this stone is. This could stand proudly with anything at Avebury or a number of any other megalithic sites, it's just the surroundings which make it all a bit surreal, the twee fencing, the rumble of traffic on the Shoreham Road only fifty metres away and the Burger King, DFS and Comet showrooms on the other side of the road! The Goldstone and the nine smaller stones surrounding it (from a different location, as is the Goldstone itself) is very similar to the stones I recently saw at Winterbourne Abbas, a conglomeration of flint and sandstone. The smaller stones also seem to have suffered more from erosion over the last hundred years or so judging by the older photos or maybe they've just been laid on their sides. The other thing that struck me, and I have to say I usually find this sort of thing extremely cheesey, was the face thing on the western side which looked like it was in a deep sleep. It must have looked very impressive before being buried, resurrected and re-sited here in the corner of Hove Park facing passively out to sea.
Came across the Goldstone 'circle' having taken the wrong road out of Brighton heading back to Pompey. The stones are of a strange concretian re-erected in a modern circle and surrounded by a fence in a park rather similar to some stones in a park in St. Helens, Jersey which have had the park built around their natual situ (one of the ones with unfathomably long french names). The Goldstone plaque does explain their modern interpretation laying blame on the farmer who buried the stones as he was getting fed up with tourists. Should have built a hut and sold postcards, they didn't embrace diversification even then. Despite being completely out of context some satisfaction can still be gleaned from being in their presence.
The Goldstone Monolith. -- An interesting monolith has just been disinterred at Goldstone Bottom, Hove, in the shape of the original and celebrated "Goldstone" or Druidic altar which stood from time immemorial in this well-known valley, but which was in 1883 deliberately buried. The stone is of an irregular, wedge-like shape, and measures about 14 feet by 9 feet, with a thickness of between 5 feet and 6 feet. The stone is described as an ironstone conglomerate, with veins of spar running through it, and when struck responds with a metallic ring. It is proposed to raise the stone on to a suitable base, and place it in the new park at Hove. -- E. A. Martin, F.G.S.
This extract (from 1818, well before the saga of the burying / reerection) seems to imply that the surrounding stones were from a defined structure, rather than just being some stones that were lying about. But who knows - this sounds more romantic.
The boulders of this brecia.. were used in distant ages as sepulchral stones. Beneath one of those, near Brighton church, an urn of high antiquity, containing human bones and ashes, was discovered by the late Rev. J. Douglass, F.A.S. An immense block of this kind is situated in Hove parish, near the Shoreham road, and is vulgarly called Goldstone,
"from the British word col, or holy-stone; it is evidently a tolmen of the British period. This stone is in a line to the south of Goldstone Bottom, at the end of which, close to the rise of the hill, is a dilapidated cirque, composed of large stones of the same kind.
On a farm of Thomas Read Kemp, Esq. opposite Wick, are two dilapidated kist=vaens, formed of similar materials; and on each side of the British trackway, leading to the Devil's Dyke, blocks of the same substance may also be observed."
Extract of a Letter from the late Rev. J. Douglass to the Author, dated May 1818.
p60 in The Geology of the South-east of England. By Gideon Algernon Mantell. (1833). Online at Google Books.