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Goose Stones

Standing Stone / Menhir

<b>Goose Stones</b>Posted by JaneImage © Jane
Nearest Town:Chipping Norton (5km E)
OS Ref (GB):   SP265288 / Sheet: 163
Latitude:51° 57' 23.63" N
Longitude:   1° 36' 51.56" W

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<b>Goose Stones</b>Posted by hamish <b>Goose Stones</b>Posted by Jane <b>Goose Stones</b>Posted by Jane <b>Goose Stones</b>Posted by baza <b>Goose Stones</b>Posted by baza


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Visited 6.8.11.

Despite Karen's horror that we were driving down a private road (and choosing to ignore the warning signs) I decided a 'drive by' visit just had to be done! Taking the said private road from west to east, the several stones I saw were all on the left - very easy to spot in the recently cut grass.
Needless to say we didn't hang around although I am glad I took the chance for a sneak visit.
Posted by CARL
8th August 2011ce

Following baza's careful and precise instructions (below) we drove down beyond the 'Private Road' sign. Nervously we proceeded, aware that not only were we trespassing (and therefore not setting a good example to the children!) but there were some mean-looking bullocks lurking around. We spotted a pile of what were clearly (to us!) fallen megaliths - the ones hamish had seen - and jumped out to take pics. Were these the Goose stones? The longer we proceeded down the lane, the more we saw! Were they 'erratics' or something else? There were tons of them! As we reached the end of the lane, we saw the one Celia Haddon had pointed out when she was taken there by Bennett and Wilson (authors of 'The Old Stones of Rollright and District'). Which ones were the Goose stones? Had we seen them at all?

It was only afterwards it occurred to me that maybe ALL of them are the Goose stones...
Jane Posted by Jane
30th August 2003ce
Edited 30th August 2003ce

On a recent visit to The Rollrights, I thought I`d go and have a mooch around for the Goose Stones on Chastleton Common, just a couple of miles away.

Approaching from the north-east on a singletrack road, as I crossed over the cattle grid leading on to the common I was dismayed to see a sign saying PRIVATE PROPERTY. NO PARKING.

I thought uh-oh, this is going to cramp my style, and it did. Slowly driving down the road, I spotted some stones to my right, so I abandoned the car in the middle of the road and set off to get some pics. These stones were the ones that hamish had seen, at SP2626228769.

Then I heard the sound of a vehicle approaching, so I had to dash to the car to allow the postman to pass. Further along the road, I saw some more, more embedded stones on the right. I had to carry on driving a short distance to the entranceway to a farm and parked there while I investigated my find. These two stones are at SP2570128746 and look more promising than the previous pile.

Carrying on in my quest, near to the south-westerly edge of the common, I saw another likely candidate, to my left. I parked next to the cattle grid leading out of the common and walked a short distance to a stone standing out of the ground at SP2537828682. This is the same stone that Celia Haddon has on her website Goose Stones
The published location for the Goose Stones (SP265288) seems to come from Paul Bennett and Tom Wilson`s booklet The Old Stones of Rollright and District, however, they were unable to find them.
baza Posted by baza
4th August 2003ce
Edited 5th August 2003ce

I had heared of this Stone/Stones but at a different map ref:SP265288. I found these Stones not far from the road side.These are obviously fallen and I couldn't find anything standing. I shall try the reference Jane gave next time I am in the area. hamish Posted by hamish
4th May 2003ce
Edited 11th May 2003ce


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More on the geese and their origin.. in the 1808 Gentleman's Magazine where the Ballad was originally? published (p341).
The following Ballad was written at Daylesford, the residence of Warren Hastings, esq. and was suggested by the circumstance of his having removed a number of large stones, which lay in the neighbourhood, to form the rock work which adorns his grounds, furnishing materials chiefly for a little Island, and the declivities of an artificial Cascade.

These stones which were situated on the summit of a hill in the parish of Addlestrop, in Gloucestershire, near the point where it borders upon the three adjoining counties, had stood for time immemorial; and whether they owed their position to Art or Nature, accident or design, has never been determined: hbut popular tradition, as is usual in cases of the like dilemma, has furnished a ready solution to this inquiry, by ascribing their origin to enchantment.

It is accordingly pretended that as an old woman was driving her geese to pasture upon Addlestrop hill, she was met by one of the Weird Sisters, who demanded alms, and upon being refused, converted the whole flock into so many stones, which have ever since retained the name of the Grey Geese of Addlestrop Hill.

In relating this Metamorphosis, no variation has been made from the antient legend; nor has any derivation from truth been resorted to in the narration of their subsequent history, farther than in attributing to the magical completion of a fictitious prophecy, what was, in reality, the effect of taste and a creative invention in the amiable proprietors of Daylesford House.
Next time you want to turn some stones into a water feature, just call it 'taste and creative invention', and it'll be fine.

So. Maybe these aren't the goose stones at all? and it is the story that has moved from Adlestrop Hill to the common.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
12th April 2007ce
Edited 12th April 2007ce

Sir Walter Scott apparently stole the story and transferred it to Scotland in 'The Black Dwarf'. Scroll down to chapter two of 'Tales of My Landlord':
Sir Walter. I'm disappointed in you.

"In the annotated edition of his novels, Sir Walter fails to tell that he took up this idea from a communication to the Gentleman's Magazine of April 1808. In this paper it is stated that, on the top of an eminence in the parish of Addlestrop, in Gloucestershire, there was a number of blocks of stone, which had stood there from time immemorial, under the name of the Grey Geese of Addlestrop Hill, until they had lately been taken by Mr Warren Hastings, and formed into a rock-work for the decoration of his grounds at Daylesford. There was added a ballad which had been composed evidently for the amusement of the circle at Daylesford.." It's on p246 here, in the Book of Days by Robert Chambers (1832).

Hastings was the former governor general of the East India Company. If he'd just retired I expect he was looking for something to interfere with around the house??

I wonder how the stones looked before he moved them. And have they been moved about since?
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
22nd February 2006ce
Edited 12th April 2007ce

From The Old Stones of Rollright and District by Paul Bennett & Tom Wilson (and gratuitously recopied from 'Megalithic Mysteries')

"It is said that the Goose stones are petrified Geese turned into stone for grazing Chastleton Common illicitly. Their owner or guardian, an old lady, used to drive them down Grey Goose Lane to graze. Despite being warned about this she continued the practice and the stones are all that are left of her geese. What happened to her is unknown; the stones however have been dragged away to adorn a local landowners garden.

All that remains are a few loose oolites scattered across the common, and a possible monolith. The location commands a good view of the valley to the north west of the site and is located close to Adlestrop hill site of several now overgrown and abused long barrows. "
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th August 2003ce
Edited 30th June 2006ce