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


The Coffin Stone

Natural Rock Feature

<b>The Coffin Stone</b>Posted by RhiannonImage © .
Nearest Town:Chatham (5km N)
OS Ref (GB):   TQ740606 / Sheets: 177, 178, 188
Latitude:51° 19' 2.31" N
Longitude:   0° 29' 49.88" E

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Photographs:<b>The Coffin Stone</b>Posted by juamei Artistic / Interpretive:<b>The Coffin Stone</b>Posted by Rhiannon


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In a large field opposite Little Kit's Coty lies the natural outcrop of the Coffin Stone. We could see it clearly, but it was right in the middle of a crop of developing brassicas and we walked as far along the field edge as we could, but the light was fading fast and despite attempts I failed to get a decent photo of it. However, even from the distance from which we viewed it, it looked monumentally huge. Jane Posted by Jane
31st December 2003ce
Edited 31st December 2003ce

About 25 yards south of the Countless Stones is a turn off. I precariously parked here and crossed the road to an entrance to a bridleway to see if I could see the Coffin Stone in it's field. Luckily, the crop had been harvested, and the stone(s) stood proud of the field, in full sight. I didn't approach the stones on this ocassion, being contented enough just to see them, and not wanting to encroach on what is obviously a cropping field. A couple of hundred yards further south is an entrance to Great Tottington Farm. I may ask here next time for permission to actually visit the stones.

There is also supposedly a circle, or ruined circle of stones (The Tottington Sarsens) at the head of the stream on the farm. It would be interesting to see if anything remains of this site/monument.
ocifant Posted by ocifant
14th September 2003ce
Edited 14th September 2003ce


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In the hedge on the left hand of the lane, and two hundred and seventy feet from the yard, lies the remarkable stone called by Dr. Stukeley, from its resemblance, the coffin stone, as only one side appears next the lane, the other parts being concealed by the mould, which in length of time has accumulated under the hedge, so that bushes and two elm-trees spread their roots on the surface of the stone.

It is in length fourteen feet two inches, in depth two feet, and in breadth about six feet, as near as I could guess by thrusting a stick under the hedge and roots with some difficulty. In the field adjoining, are several very large stones a little beneath the surface of the earth, some of which lie so fleet*, that it is with difficulty the men can plough it; and in some parts of it they appear level with the surface, as the tenant shewed me. Stones of great magnitude likewise lie dispersed about the moat and yard, which give the place a romantick appearance; and one before the barn measured nine feet and a half in length, and seven feet in breadth.

Another, much broader and of greater size, is at the upper end of the yard, near the spring-head. All these stones are irregular as when first taken from the earth, but , through the great length of time and injuries of weather, are become smooth; and of the same kind, and similar to to those which compose the celebrated British monument called Kits-Cotty-House, situated at a small distance from this place [...]
From John Thorpe's 'Custumale Roffense' (1788). *fleet = shallow
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
5th September 2016ce
Edited 5th September 2016ce

‘View from afar’ 30.5.16

From the entrance to the ‘vineyard type’ place opposite the Countless Stones a large stone can be seen in the distance in the middle of a field. It is next to a tree, near the overhead power lines. This is a close as you are likely to get as the ‘vineyard’ has a double row of 6ft high fences ‘protecting’ the entrance. The vines (or whatever they are) have been planted all around it.
Once they have grown taller it is likely that in the summer months the stone will not be visible from this spot.
Posted by CARL
31st May 2016ce

In the 1830s two skulls were found under the stone - so perhaps it is the remains of a tomb, and so part of the Medway group of Neolithic barrows where the Pilgrim's way crosses the river.
Judging by the link below, it seems the farmer saw fit to pile another stone on top of it quite recently.
The stone, called by Stukeley, "The Coffin," and now frequently and more appropriately "The Table Stone," lies close to Great Tottington Farm, in an open field on the opposite side of the lane to Lower Kit's Cotty. A hedge formerly concealed more than one-half of the stone, and in this condition it is depicted in Thorpe's Custumale Roffense, the east side alone being exposed. In 1836, this hedge was cleared away, so that the entire stone is now visible. From the same field in which the Coffin Stone lies, many stones have been removed, and others have been sunk in the ground in order to get them below the reach of the plough.

The length of the Coffin Stone is about 14 ft. 6 in., breadth at its north-east end, 8 ft. 6 in.; at south-west end, 5 ft. 5 in., while its depth or thickness averages about 2 ft. Measured diagonally, north and south, its length is 15 ft., and similarly from east to west, 13 ft. 10 in. This stone was, probably, at one time upright, and formed a sepulchral memorial or menhir of some ancient British chieftain.

In confirmation of its once upright position, it lies on the surface of the ground, a stick being easily thrust several feet underneath without meeting with any obstruction. Another still more conclusive fact is, that when the hedge was removed in 1836, from around the Coffin Stone, two human skulls were met with, besides other human bones. Some charcoal, a frequent accompaniment of early burials, was also found while grubbing in the same hedgerow. Fragments of Roman pottery have also been brought to light within a short distance.

There is a saying in the neighbourhood that this stone is the largest in Kent. Some of those in Addington Park, are, however, nearly of equal dimensions.
On the megalithic remains in mid-Kent, by EHW Dunkin, in The Reliquary for Oct 1871.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
2nd May 2002ce
Edited 31st May 2016ce


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Great Tottington's Sarsen Stones

Paul Ashbee's article on the stones, especially with reference to the Coffin Stone.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
30th July 2003ce
Edited 22nd October 2010ce