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

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Peter's Pence Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

I used to pass this daily on my way to school in my pre-megalithic teens, never noticing this recumbent stone lying at the edge of the churchyard. This large sandstone block is known as "Peter's Pence Stone" (after the practice in the middle ages of making a contribution to the Pope in Rome). The stone is believed to have come from the Wilbarston area (roughly some 8 miles away as the crow flies) so must have been moved here by human hands. Theories range from it having been part of the foundations of the old church (St Mary in Arden) to it being an upright standing or marker stone. As with much in Leicestershire, no one really knows (or appears to care!).

In the late 1800s several urn burials were discovered to the north of the chapel, leading to theories that this was the site of either a prehistoric or Roman cemetery before the chapel was built on the site (the Christianisation of a pre-Christian site perhaps). Neolithic flints have also been discovered in the area opposite the churchyard. Could this site have had some ritual significance for longer than the chapel building might suggest?

When I visited the stone today, a truck was parked slightly off the road next to it. The driver was using the stone as a convenient mounting block to get back in his cab! I tried to explain to him that he should not do this, but his response is unrepeatable!!
Born, bred and living in landlocked Leicestershire, my visits to sites tend to coincide with holidays and long weekends.

But now, armed with Bob Trubshaw’s booklet, Standing Stones & Markstones of Leicestershire, I have sites in my own backyard to try and find.

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