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

The Negen Stones

Standing Stones


The name of the town of Staines means "stones" and it is thought to come from a group of nine stones mentioned in a twelfth century charter of Chertsey Abbey which delineated the boundaries of the Abbey lands, and was reported in Up Pontes by Christine Lake. The charter says this:

"Down to that Eyre that stands in the Thames at Lodders Lake and so along Thames by mid-stream to Glenthuthe (Glanty: M25 roundabout), from Glenhuthe by mid-stream along Thames to the Huthe (Hythe) before Negen Stones". ("Negen stanes" is Saxon for "nine stones").

If this was a prehistoric stone circle, it is the only one known in the south-east of England; the nearest today is the Rollright Stones in Oxfordshire. And when we look at the site which seems to be indicated, now occupied by a roundabout on the Egham side of Staines Bridge, there is a definite convergence of ways, and each of them seems to mark a ley; though, curiously, the ways do not meet at a single point but rather skirt a small area.

The most striking alignment is that of the Roman road coming from London to Staines, now the A30 and Staines High Street; the alignment goes through the proposed site, although the Roman road diverges from it slightly to cross the river downstream of the present bridge.

The Egham Causeway is another of the alignments converging on the proposed site of the stones; a ley which passes through a Neolithic and Bronze Age site by Runnymede motorway bridge.

The third alignment is the one running up Thorpe Road, Egham Hythe, close to St. Paul's Church there which is visible from the Negen Stones site.

When aligning the site with St. Mary's Church, Staines, the line is also found to go south through St. Peter's Church Chertstey, from where another ley was followed some years ago. Going north, it skirts the fort at Gerrards Cross and continues through the church St. Michael and All Angels and nearby Sycamore Corner cross-roads at Amersham-on-the-Hill. St. Mary's Church is 19th century but is on the site of a stone church built by St. Erminildis in 675, on a pronounced rise in the ground. It also has a tradition of stones at the site, and this has been linked with the Negen Stones charter in the Staines Town Trail, but this is unlikely to be the site of these stones as it is not near The Hythe, which is a riverside road, presumably originally a wharf, on the Egham Hythe side of the river. However, it could be another site of stones.

The site of the Neolithic causewayed enclosure mentioned in Prehistoric London by Nick Merriman is now Junction 13 of the M25, although there is a picture of the cropmarks in that book. It was excavated in 1961-63 and was found to have had inner banks which had been ploughed flat. Pottery of the type found at Windmill Hill in Wiltshire was found there.

When aligned through the Negen Stones site this alignment was found to pass through Weybridge Church, nineteenth century but the site of an older church.
Posted by jimgoddard
13th June 2002ce

Comments (1)

I think it is possible that the 'negen stanes' or nine stones is a reference to a relic of Roman Ad Pontes, most likely the piers and base of the arches of the actual bridge itself after the top of the arches collapsed. This would have left a line of stones sticking up out of the river and its origins would have been a mystery to many in later Saxon times when stone bridges were almost unknown and the local history did not go back far enough.

Other possible Roman sources of the name could refer to monuments e.g. tomb stones in a roman era cemetery or columns e.g. from the remains of a temple, gateway or civic building to the south of the river.
Posted by MVR
23rd November 2014ce
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