The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

The Humber Stone

Standing Stone / Menhir


The Humber Stone Leicester.

Close to Thumaston Lane. Although only a few feet from the road, it is just off a new roundabout that leads to the Hamilton housing estate, it is near a garage. You will need a recent OS map as much has changed around here recently.

A huge red granite stone some six feet wide and twelve high once stood in a hollow on the top of an eminence at Humberstone. It was variously called the Hoston, Hostin, Holly, Holy or even Hell Stone, and gave its name to the nearby village, though the official derivation is from Hunbeort's Stan [Stonel. Geologically, the stone is an erratic, (similar red granite is found closest at Mountsorrel some miles away), but there is folklore that it was dropped by a god, and frequented by fairies. In the eighteenth century the farmer on whose land it stood had the upper parts of the stone broken off, and the hollow levelled for the plough. For meddling with the stone he was soon reduced from being the owner of 120 acres to penury, and six years later he died in the workhouse. The bad luck - if you can call it that - seems to still linger as within 10 minutes of my arrival yesterday two squad cars and 3 police officers harassed me at the site asking what I was doing on ñtheir landî! This is a public monument six feet from the highway and marked by a notice by the way. They obviously have a policy of harassing visitors as one questioned me about ley lines - a bizarre, and somewhat disturbing experience, now I know what it must feel like to be a traveller. The remnant of the stone can still be seen and has been recently dug out of the ground and is most impressive. As large as some stones at Avebury it must weigh at least 6 tons in its curtailed form (my friendÍs estimate who knows about these things), deeply fissured and very red. Its large front originally faced north towards Charnwood it seems. It must have been very impressive in its day, no granite let alone red granite around this district. In the same locality there was a plot of land called Hell-hole Furlong, and also the traditional site of a nunnery which was reputed to be connected by an underground passage to Leicester Abbey, two miles away and possibly visible, there has been much obstruction of site lines recently. The stone sits forlorn amongst new industrial and housing estates. This tunnel story is possibly a later reinvention of a much older line of sight alignment as in the Abbey Fields at Leicester there was once a seven-foot stone called St John's Stone. Its site is now in the middle of the Stadium Housing Estate. It was the custom for people to visit it on St John's Day, close to the solstice on the 24 June. Children sometimes played around it, but were always careful to leave before nightfall, when the fairies came out. Nowadays it is the institutionally anti-archaeological forces of Babylon one has to be wary of it seems.

Alex Peach
Posted by Porkbeast
4th January 2001ce
Edited 15th July 2004ce

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