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Chris Dee
/ Categories: Cotswolds Attractions

Rollright Stones

Near Long Compton, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire

The Rollright Stones are an ancient (Neolithic/Bronze Age) set of stones near Long Compton, just outside Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire. Both circle and outlying stones come with stories attached - and one particularly enticing legend. 

They appear, like a collection of jagged teeth, weathered and sometimes repositioned. They’re said to be uncountable, perhaps because they have been moved, plundered and reinterpreted over the years. Nevertheless, there’s a special atmosphere here, a reminder that higher profile ancient monuments such as Stonehenge do not carry a monopoly on mystery.

There’s a story that the stones were one a King and his army. The King was offered a challenge by a witch - “Seven long strides shalt thou take. If Long Compton thou canst see, King of England thou shalt be”. The King accepted the challenge but failed to see the village - his view obscured by a natural hill alter called the Archdruid’s Barrow. At this, the witch turned him and his men to stone (and herself into an elder tree). 

The main circle are known as the King’s Men, an outlying stone is called the King’s Stone (it’s actually on the other side of the road by the entrance and due to the fact that this is border country, in Warwickshire) and there is another group called the Whispering Knights.

Each of the three monuments dates from a different era and it is sobering that they are therefore evidence of continuous rituals over a two thousand year period (4th to 2nd centuries BCE). In fact, a 20th century pagan revival has seen the site used for the occasional assembly ever since. 

Admission is £1 and the stones are run by their own Trust. If you are visiting off-peak, take a coin for the honesty box. 

Cotswolds Finest Hotels Nearby

The Manor House Moreton in Marsh in nearest.

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