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The Longstone of Minchinhampton

Standing Stone / Menhir

<b>The Longstone of Minchinhampton</b>Posted by MothImage © Tim Clark
Also known as:
  • Monument No. 208981
  • The Long Stone

Nearest Town:Nailsworth (4km WSW)
OS Ref (GB):   ST885999 / Sheet: 162
Latitude:51° 41' 49.97" N
Longitude:   2° 9' 59.08" W


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Fieldnotes

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Visited 5/08/10

This beautiful lichen covered standing stone is similar to the Rollright stones and I imagine it is the same oolite limestone. Positioned in a gated field near the road between Gatcombe Park and Nailsworth it is full of holes and crevices so to be enjoyed while it remains. Also noticed the nearby Cotswold stone wall had been built around second stone which seemed to be a different type of stone – no holey permeations.
tjj Posted by tjj
6th August 2010ce
Edited 6th August 2010ce

Visited August 2009.
Nice and easy - just inside the field by a gate. Funny thing is though, that after visiting the Tinglestone and Gatcombe Lodge Longbarrow I was too nervous to enter the field for a 'hands on' visit and settled for a view from the gate. Silly I know and I now regret this. Another visit required when next in the area!
Posted by CARL
28th May 2010ce

A quick visit (21.3.2009) between The Tinglestone and Gatcombe Lodge long barrows. The area is swarming with members of the constabulary, in landrovers and a helicopter, so I guess there's royalty nearby. I was mentally practising an "all property is theft" rant that I knew I would never use, but no-one bothered me.

What a great stone - like a weird piece of coral dropped in the middle of a field (probably by aliens). From here it's into royal territory and Gatcombe Lodge.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
23rd March 2009ce

Recently visited the Rodmorton long barrow 05,03,09 .I found it a very magical place . Also visited the long stone just outside Minchinhampton ,that was abit of a hard place to find but once I found the stone it was very rewarding .The stone in the wall is pretty cool too. I found the longstone to be the same type as at the Rollright stone circle ? . stone finder Posted by stone finder
6th March 2009ce
Edited 7th March 2009ce

20/09/03. Toby and KJ, TJ and DJ (all sisters) met up with Amy and Barry in the road outside the stones. It was a fairly easy site to find, and all was quiet in the foggy morning except for the horse show going on in the field on the other side of the road. We all took photos and got in each others way. Never seen a stone with such holes in it before. Posted by juggs
24th September 2003ce
Edited 24th September 2003ce

I have visited this Stone many times,it seems to have an "atmosphere" about it.People report feeling strange or suffering from headaches,like Tamlin,after visiting.
I took another pic of the little Stone in the wall but haven't posted any more of the Long Stone.
hamish Posted by hamish
24th August 2003ce

We visited on 4th August 2002, and had trouble finding the stone because it was just over the edge of our map!

When we got there we parked at the gate near the stone, under the watchful gaze of a police officer wearing fluorescents. He was directing traffic to some sort of equestrian show on the other side of the road. We half expected to be arrested for trespass, or climbing over a gate without due care and attention, but rather disappointingly he just stood there looking bored.

I don't think there is a footpath to the stone, but I guess we have the 'right to roam' there. I'll have to read up on this and find out how the Law stands on this sort of thing.
Kammer Posted by Kammer
8th August 2002ce
Edited 22nd December 2003ce

I read the posts about this stone, consulted my maps, thought whats the problem.

Minchinhampton is indeed a maze, the kids in the back questioning every U turn and stating the obvious ' Didn't we just go here ?'

Anyway got my act together, and its easy to find, Take the road across the common, follow the lane down the side of the pub 'The Ragged Cot' about 3/4mile down this road the stone stands in a field, but its hard to spot as its at right angles to you and only abouut 20cm thick. Anyway take the right fork signed ' Minchinhampton Only' and there is a small wood on the junction and then after about 50m the stone is easy to spot through the gate.

Spent a good half hour in the sun , poking our arms and faces through the holes.
Posted by Killer
22nd July 2002ce

I spent yesterday evenings beautiful sunset by the stone, just made it in time weaving through hte maze of roads which all seem to bring you out at the same place. Note the stone of identical texture built into the wall. Could this be as antiquated? I know that someone once speculated that this was the entrance to a barrow.
Tis a pretty place indeed but returned with a dreadful headache. Not a stone for brittle heads!
Posted by tamlin
30th March 2002ce

Well i live near to the stones, the other one is on Princess Annes estate, tHE tINGLESTONE, and you need permission... to visit it....
tYHE OTHER i LOVE, IS AT the camp.... THE CAMP..... THAT is hardly visited, but i jumped over the wall,and felt "things" around it.... ideal for dowsers.
Ive been doing visits to the stone, near to the golfcourse, and every pagan festival, go and take photos of it, we still have to download our own bl and white photos taken last winter solstice, of it in snow.No it doesnt go down to the stream to bathe, or dance in the moonlight, this is, as most people thought, they were witches turned to stone!
To find it, its best to go to the pub,THE OLD RAGGED COTT, have a visite there, there are ghosts in there too, then go straight down the road, to CRACKSTONE... and turn right at bottom, and then its in that feild, its overlooked by the old camp, which is now a residential area of small houses. There is also of course THE DEVILS CHURCHYARD, nearby, a footpath goes through PEACHES FARM, I think.... check on OS map.... this is Im told my ye locals, an eerie place, also there are ghosts, all around here,s BE WARNED! STARGAZER.
Posted by stargazer
18th December 2001ce

THE LONGSTONE OF MINCHINHAMPTON - Visited 26/8/00

My god...Minchinhampton is a bit of a maze. Once again we tried to locate this without an OS map, and the many and varied streets of the town and the common didn't make using the road map very easy at all. However, as we passed the correct field we spotted the elusive stone, stopped, turned around and jumped over the fence to view this strange object. The type of rock was like many others we had seen, but the holes and shape added a uniqueness to the stone.
We took our photo, but alas, were not rewarded with a rainbow. We shall return at night, with Mike Reid, to see if it really does RUNAROUND the field!
Rob Gillespie Posted by Rob Gillespie
15th January 2001ce

Folklore

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Following on from the information about "Molly the Dreamer" at Gatcombe Lodge:

"Molly is also supposed to have dug at the Longstone, where she did find gold, but lightning flashed just as she was about to lift it out; 'after that she was never the same again'."

From an article in 'Folklore' (1912), mentioned by Westwood and Simpson in their 2005 'Lore of the Land'.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
1st March 2006ce

.. a very fine monolith, locally called the "Long Stone" [is] on the left hand side of the main road a short distance from Gatcombe Lodge entrance. It is 7 1/2 ft high above the ground, and is said to be as much below the surface.

It is a very fine block of the peculiar stratum of the great oolite formation, locally called holey stone, which underlies the surface soil to a thickness varying from 6" to 18".

Report says that the superstitious mothers were in the habit of passing ricketty children through a hole in this stone with the idea that they would become strong.

A much smaller stone of a similar kind stands in a wall about 30 feet away, and a third is said to have been removed during the last century.
From 'A history of the parishes of Minchinhampton and Avening' by Arthur Twisden Playne (1915).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
13th February 2006ce

Much more famous than "Ragged Jonathan"* is a perforated menhir about a mile to the east of Minchinhampton. It was formerly surrounded by the Common arable fields, to one of which it gave the name of "Longstone Field." Once, when they were ploughing there with oxen, they yoked a good many together, and tried to pull the Longstone out of the ground, but "something" held it firm. [..] Further, "when the Longstone hears the clock strike twelve, it runs round the field," as almost every child in the place will tell you. Within living memory, children with whooping-cough and rickets used to be put through one of the holes in the stone. Traditions of bloodshed also cling round the Longstone; some say that it marks the burial place of a Danish chief killed in a battle at "Woeful Danes' Bottom," about half a mile distant, where "the blood ran as high as the wheels of a cart," and the victory was won by women who gave the Danes poisoned pancakes to eat. At the battle of "Woeful Danes' Bottom," which is much talked about, "the solders shot through the holes of the Longstone"; and all the tumuli or "tumps" in the neighbourhood are held to be "the soldiers' graves."
From: Cotswold Place-Lore and Customs, by J. B. Partridge, in Folklore, Vol. 23, No. 3. (Sep., 1912), pp. 332-342.

It's also been said that a hellhound-style black dog has been seen in the stone's vicinity. Not that you'll probably see the black dog at midnight - bar its nasty red glowing eyes. In the 'alternative approaches to folklore bibliography' at
http://www.hoap.co.uk/aatf1.doc
it specifically mentions Woefuldane Bottom as the location of the spectral dog - this appears to be the road that the stone lies next to.


In 'A history of the parishes of Minchinhampton and Avening' by Arthur Twisden Playne (1915) it's mentioned that the Danes marched in here via the Daneway and met the Saxons at Woefuldane bottom. The slaughter of the Danes was so great that 'the blood came up over the fetlocks of the Saxon horses'. But then Playne ruins it all: "I am sorry to throw doubt on so picturesque a legend" - he says Daneway is from 'Dene Way' or valley way, and Woeful from 'Wulfflaed', a personal name.

The 'Ragged Jonathan' mentioned above is explained as follows (also in the Folklore article):
Two menhirs, "Cob Stone" and "Picked Stone," were destroyed on or near Minchinhampton Common, about seventy years ago. Still standing is the curious "Ragged Jonathan" or "Holey Stone" about 5 ft. high, pitted all over with small regular cup-like depressions. It has been used at some time as a milestone; but one old inhabitant says he thinks it came from the Devil's Churchyard, while another says that children used to be lifted over it to cure whooping-cough. I have also been told that the holes in the stone were made by Oliver Cromwell's guns.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th September 2003ce
Edited 29th September 2006ce

I was taken to this site a couple of times by a now deceased relative as a child & remember having infinite fun sticking my hands through the holes! As Stargazer has mentioned, the local legend is that the Longstone & Tingle Stone uproot themselves & take a trek to nearby Minchinhampton to drink from the spring. Never understood that one myself, but then again why do the people in the nearby village of Avening also celebrate Pig Face Sunday on 14 September each year? Do make your visit coincide with a visit to Avening church at the very least as it remains the only church in England founded by a queen - Matilda, wide of William I. Posted by Laughing Giraffe
16th February 2002ce

This is my local site as I grew up in Amberley which is the next village to Minchinhampton

My mother tells the tale that newborn babies used to be passed through the hole in the Longstone, if they were small enough to pass through the hole they were deemed to sickly to live and were killed.
Posted by Simon Close
5th October 2001ce

Miscellaneous

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Details of stone on Pastscape

The Long Stone (NAT) (SH 88409990 sited to name only.) (1) ST 88369992. A standing stone 7ft 9in high on the remains of a mound. To the west is a smaller stone which has been incorporated in a modern wall, but is still in situ. The site is probably the last vestige of a long barrow. (2) Rudder likens the barrow on which the Long Stone stands to that of the Tingle Stone (ST 89 NE 12). (3) The Long Stone, ST 88349991, is 2.1m high, 1.7m wide and 0.4 thick. The smaller stone, ST 88339991, is 1.2m long, 0.7m high and 0.3m thick. It is incorporated in a modern wall but at right angles to it. There are no remains of a mound. The field is under the plough. Published survey 25' revised. (4)
Chance Posted by Chance
11th April 2016ce