In my previous entry for the Five Barrows site at Brook on the Isle of Wight I mentioned this site, and explained that it forms the remains of a long barrow. Well, I just paid a visit this afternoon, and it reaffirmed the greatness of this site.
Lying due south of the mighty mother hill that is Mottistone down and within Brightstone Forest, the site is composed of a large sandstone megalith approx. 5m tall and a second recumbent stone at its foot forming the former entrance to the monument. A surprising amount of the barrow remains, making it easy to trace its outline, plus the tomb itself remains defined on the ground. The barrow also appears to be aligned to the summer solstice sunrise. Adding to the splendour of the location is the nearby iron age hill fort atop a small hill a few hundred metres SE of the Longstone. The largest round barrow on the island, the Black Barrow is approximately 1km due east of the Longstone, plus there are several other smaller burial mounds nearby.
The Longstone has always been something of a local landmark and gets quite a lot of visitors due to its fantanstic location within the forest here and also for the top vibes of the area in general. It's certainly great to have such a place more or less on my doorstep.
When at the Longstone or Mote-stone which gave its name to Mottistone, in the Isle of Wight, the other day [the writer] was told by an inhabitant of the locality that the two stones were said to have been thrown there from St. Catherine's Down (seven miles away as the crow flies), the larger one by a giant and the smaller by the Devil; and that the giant had to stoop to throw his stone because it was so heavy.
The 13 foot stone is a probable remnant of a Neolithic long barrow. legend has it that the stone was thrown here by a giant, the smaller stone being thrown by the Devil. Alternatively the Devil dropped some stones from his overloaded cart. There was also a belief that Druids used to meet at this stone.
Mottistone means 'speaker's stone' in Old English. The Druids are supposed to have sacrificed white bulls beside the longstone (white cattle with red ears belonged to the fairies or came from the Celtic underworld, so perhaps that is relevant). The two stones here have been interpreted as male and female. Perhaps it's more likely they are the remains of a destroyed burial chamber with more stones.
(folklore found in the Reader's Digest 'Folklore Myths and Legends of Britain')
[I state in a paper published August 1884] that the "Longstone" is an upright stone, having a large flat stone (9feet x 4feet x 2feet) lying on the north-east side of it, which I thought might have been slightly moved from its original position. On revisiting the stones last June I found that the flat stone had been shifted about ten feet and that it now lies to the south-east and not to the north-east of the upright stone. Whether anone has been digging there, and, if so, whether anything has been found, I do not know.. my original sketches clearly show that [I had not made a mistake].
The "Longstone" at Mottistone, Isle of Wight
A. L. Lewis
The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. 18. (1889), p. 192.