Rollright Stones Stone Circle, Oxfordshire

Rollright Stones Stone Circle, Oxfordshire
Rollright (northern half)

Off the A34T 500m west along a B road at Great Rollright The Rollright Stones is a well-preserved stone circle, originally in private ownership, but since purchased by the Friends Of The Rollright Stones. The stones are limestone, so they have been weathered into fantastic gnarled shapes by the passage of Time. As well as the stone circle itself, there is an outlier, The King Stone, which is also a finely weathered limestone monolith, though sadly surrounded by some singularly ugly iron railings...

A few hundred metres east of the circle is the Whispering Knights dolmen, another good collection of limestone monoliths.


The name comes from a local legend (16) - the large outlier is the King turned to stone, the Whispering Knights his men. They were calcified, so rumour has it, by a local witch when travelling over her land.

The Witch cackled "Go forward"
Seven long strides shalt thou take
If Long Compton thou canst see
King of England thou shalt be

[Long Compton is a local village which would normally be seen from the King Stone, were it not for a natural mound blocking the view]

The king went forward expecting triumph, but the witch had the last laugh -

"As Long Compton thou canst not see
King of England thou shalt not be
Rise up stick, and stand still, stone,
for King of England thou shalt be none.
Thou and thy men hoar stones shall be
and I myself an eldern tree

Rollright is one of the closest megalithic sites to London and is reasonably easily reached - it can be surprisingly popular at times. Because of its proximity to London, it was the chosen site for an unorthodox project called The Dragon Project (15) to seek to measure mechanically any anomalous physical effects associated with megalithic sites.