A number of my paternal grandmother's ancestors were baptised and then buried at this church, so I feel I'm sort of entitled to a guess on all this. It has the fingerprints of wealthy church benefactor all over it. Maybe they were originally in the wooded site and got moved.........some of those holes may be a clue!
This site has been languishing in my to do list for years, so after a solstice sunrise at the Rollright stones I'm looking for a few other places to get to, Churchill......oh yesss!
The remembrance bench is too close, the stones are said to be this, that and the other but no one knows from whence they came.
It's still very early, there is no one out besides a determined jogger a squirrel and myself, and the jogger is gone, leaving the squirrel and me, it's a funny word squirrel the more you say it the less meaning the word has.
A very slow stroll round the church later and still all is quiet so I sit on the aforementioned bench and lap up the peace and stillness.
Phil said the place looked like something out of Midsomer
murders, I kept my back to the church.
From Lyneham Long Barrow we walked in a more or less straight line along the Darcy Dalton Way to Sarsden then onto Churchill.
Just as you walk up into the village across the lovely Sars Brook the moss-covered remains of what may have been a chambered tomb stand at the entrance to the Old Rectory on the right hand side of the road. Stones on either side of the driveway - the village church of All Saints was just in view behind the larger stones resonating with the Cove at Stanton Drew.
We concluded our day out Oxfordshire trip to look at the 'other stones' by sitting in the now warm spring sunshine on the bench outside the church. Next to the bench is a magnificent line of standing limestones .. intriguing indeed.
Once again, many thanks to Ocifant for posting this information on The Heritage Journal thus facilitating a truly memorable stony day out.
What a lovely setting these stones are in! Outside the church on a small green with a handy bench right next to the stones where one can sit and contemplate. Opposite is a pub. Churchill is a pretty little village and sitting in the sun was very relaxing, particularly when the church clock started chiming. The stones do look very old and as other people have mentioned, do look like they may have come from a prehistoric site. In saying that I have been to other sites where the stones look as old only to be told they are not 'old stones' so to speak. Either way, it is such a nice location that a visit is worthwhile whatever the history of the stones themselves.
Having spent best part of a week in the village, I got a few opportunities to examine the various chunks of oolitic stone dotted about the village. It's difficult to avoid thoughts that these could so easily have once been part of something Rollrighty.
The larger stones forming the kerb of the church looked to me as if they were once fewer, larger stones that had been split to be the right size for the kerb. There are definite feather marks, and the more angular edges Jane mentions seemed to me to be the bits where larger stones had been split. Some of the others in the kerb are just as gnarly as the Rollrights themselves, making it easy to imagine them as part of a monument.
There are also a couple of the roadside stones that bore slight circular depressions that if they appeared on fell sandstone in Northumberland, I would have no hesitation in declaring them cupmarks. But as these Churchill stones are oolitic, its not so easy to say. Though the presence of the possible cups in Salford might lend a tiny sliver of credence to the possibility that they are artificial, and not just statistically inevitable natural cup-like formations.
Overall, I'm in agreement that these stones really do look like they could have been part of the circle that Hamish says was once down the way at Sarsgrove wood.
The eight stones placed closely together are all of the same rough size and shape as many of the original Rollrights, just a couple of miles down the road, and most notably, in the same weathered condition. Many of the stones used as kerbstones at the roadsides in the village were not as weathered, but we did notice that some of the larger ones bore tell-tale signs of a different past, more weathered, dressed differently, more ceremonial and probably part of the same something that the alignment were once part of.... but what, we couldn't say.
It is said that a stone circle existed in Sarsgrove wood in 1929 but does not seem to be there now.There is however this line of stones to the right of the church entrance,three or four large stones leading to the old rectory and the stones of the village cross plus the large stones by the old vicarage entrance may be all that remains of the old circle.
This is a lovely village and well worth a visit if you are in the area.
Very little is known about the origins of the name of the village of Sarsden but down the centuries Churchill has had several names, such as, Cercelle, Churchell. Cherchell and finally, by 1537, Churchill. It is thought that it may be derived from the Old English 'cyrc', which means a hill, burying ground or barrow.