This is an odd one. Looks like either an animal water trough (although it is about 1 metre square in shape) or a large font? On one side there appears to be a 'channelled out' bit which clearly had some sort of purpose? It is sat on top of a small mound in a field right next to the busy A45. Easy to find (just follow directions given by Wrekin) although you need to be careful crossing the A45 – the central reservation helps a lot! Access to the field is easy – over the gate to the left of the houses and the small mound is immediately to your left. Just myself and the sheep in the pouring rain!
I visited the site on 22 December 2006. It may be quite difficult to find if driving on the busy A45 dual carriageway and the following may help. If coming from the Rugby direction take the second left after the Fosse Way roundabout near Stretton on Dunsmore - this is Freeboard Lane and you can park immediately on the right. Cross the cariageways and take the signed public footpath to the left of the houses opposite - the site is easily visible a few yards to the left. If you miss Freeboard lane there is a lay-by a few hundred yards down the road.
If coming from the Coventry direction I suggest locating the site as above and trying to park outsie the houses described, or else go to the Fosse Wat roundabout and come back towards Rugby.
In any event, a pleasant site and well screened from the main road.
The A45 is truly too noisy to comfortably stay for very long and the path leading up to the monument really only accomodates single file walking and I found that the A45 drivers travel way to fast past the 40mph limit here so beware,lest you be sucked into the road!
It is a nice little monument though and stirs that sense of awe when first spotted from afar.
It is on private sheeping land but only a little way of the track and the sheep were friendly!
Recommended as a good stop before heading over to the likes of Brinklow Hill.
There is also a certain rent due unto the Lord of this hundred [Knightlow], called Wroth money, or Warth money, or Swarff peny, probably the same with Ward penny. Denarii vicecomiti vel aliis castellanis persoluti ob castrorum praefidium, vel excubias agendas, says Sir H. Spelm. in his Gloss. fol. 565, 566. This rent must be paid every Martinmas day in the morning, at Knightlowe Cross, before the sun riseth; the party paying it must go thrice about the cross, and say The Wrath money, and then lay it in the hole of the said cross before good witness, for if it be not duly performed, the forfeiture is thirty shillings and a white bull. The towns that pay this Wrath money are as follow: [...]
A word or two now of the place, whence it takes the name, which is a tumulus, or little heap, of earth, standing on the brow of the hill upon the great roadway leading from Coventre towards London, as you enter upon Dunsmore heath, commonly called Knightlow hill, or Knightlow cross, the latter syllable Lowe (as we now pronounce it) but anciently and more truly Lawe, signifying a little hill; and so Mr. Cambden in his Remains observes, that the Scots who border nearest to England do use the word in that sense to this day.
Old Custom In Warwickshire.--
There is a large stone a few miles from Dunchurch, in Warwickshire, called "The Knightlow Cross." Several of Lord John Scott's tenants hold from him on the condition of laying their rent before daybreak on Martinmas Day on this stone: if they fail to do so, they forfeit to him as many pounds as they owe pence, or as many white bulls with red tips to their ears and a red tip to their tail as they owe pence, whichever he chooses to demand. This custom is still kept up, and there is always hard riding to reach the stone before the sun rises on Martinmas Day. - MMMR.
The tumulus is about 30 feet square, with sides running parallel to the road, having a large fir-tree growing at each angle, of which the people around say that the four trees represent four knights who were killed and buried there. This, however, can only be conjecture, as the trees are but the same age as those in the "Avenue" which were planted in 1740 by John, Duke of Montague.
In 'Open-Air Assemblies' by G Laurence Gomme, in Antiquary (Dec. 1887, p233).
Not sure of any dispute about antiquity? The Wroth Silver Ceremony has been held at this stone on the autumnal quarter day since at least 1170. It is an administrative 'rent collection' event where the local parishes pay their dues to The Duke of Buchleuch (formerly the Crown). Please see website http://www.wrothsilver.org.uk for more information and you can buy our book 'Wroth Silver Today' Possibly the book described in the first posting but not published by the Strettin parish historical society. Here we describe it as a tumulus (round barrow) on the top of Knightlow Hill on which there is the remains of a Mediaeval cross. Look forward to seeing you (hope not too early in the morning for you all, but fortify yourself with a glass of hot rum and milk before). Meet the Mayor of Rugby etc. Join us for breakfast after and hear the history from David Eadon. If you have unresolved questions let me know and I will add to the FAQ section of the website. Best wishes William (co author of the book and co organiser plus webmaster)
Easy to find, next to the north side A45 at the top of Knightlow Hill sits the Wroth Stone.
This small yet enigmatic stone sits on a mound which, some say, marks the resting point of some ancient warrior. On the OS map it is called Knightlow Cross and it has the look of a base for wayside cross/marker. However the A45 an old coaching road and the Wroth Stone almost certainly pre-dates this.
Why get all worked up about a time weathered stone at the side of the A45?
The stone marks the site a ceremony which goes back to, at least, the time of the conquest. The Wroth Silver ceremony is performed at sunrise on 11 November each year where representatives of villages of the Knightlow Hundred pay a consideration to the Duke of Buccleach.
Those who do not cough-up (1893 was the last time someone didn't) either face either a fine, or offers a white bull with red nose and ears (very, er, pagan). After the ceremony invited guests go to a local pub for a big breakfast with milk (and rum!).
Feudal lord and master exercising his rights over the peasants - or Bronze age samhain festival - you decide.
The scheduled monument record (on Magic) describes the Wroth Stone as the remains of a medieval boundary cross base. The mound is described as medieval too, but "It has been suggested that the mound may have originated prior to the construction of the cross, perhaps as a burial tumulus which was later adapted as a base for the cross." As the medieval English were not generally in the habit of building barrows, is this a half-admission of a prehistoric origin?