Cotswolds Mystery of Rollright Stones
Cotswolds Mystery with Cotswolds Guided Tours
Today on our Cotswolds mystery post will take us to the magical Rollright Stones. The Rollright Stones are located just over 2 miles from Chipping Norton. The site is divided into 3 distinct parts. The Kings Stone, The Kings Men & the Whispering Knights.
The King’s Men are a Bronze Age circle, approximately 100 feet in diameter, dating back to 2000 to 1800 BC. The Whispering Knights are the remains of a Bronze Age burial chamber. The Kings Stone, is an isolated standing stone. There are splendid views from this location & fantastic stars at night can be observed.
The ridge where these stones are located is believed to have carried one of Britain’s earliest & most important tracks the Jurassic Way. In the bottom of the valley to the north of these stones is the village of Long Compton, which can be clearly seen from the highest point of the ridge, near to the Kings Stone.
Cotswolds Mystery Tour of Rollright Stones.
This is perhaps the most famous local legend in the Cotswolds, it was first written down in the 1500’s. The legend is regarding a man who wanted to be King of all England. He was known as Roland the Great, he had an army (the Kings Men) & some Knights, who he believed were plotting against him. Roland was travelling along this ancient track when, walking across the ridge he encountered a woman, known as Mother Shipton, who it was believed was a witch.
The witch, knowing Roland’s greatest desires to be King, set him a challenge.
‘If Long Compton thou canst see,
King of England thou shalt be’
Roland believed that he was so close to the top of the ridge, this would be an easy challenge, so he said
‘Stick, Stock, Stone, as King of England I shall be known’ and with that Roland took 7 strides toward to highest point of the hillside, unfortunately a ridge rose up infront of him blocking his view.
The witch was said to cackle with glee…
‘As Long Compton thou canst not see,
King of England thou shalt not be,
Rise up stick & stand still, stone,
For King of England thou shalt be none,
Thou & thy man hoar stones shalt be,
And I shall be an elder tree’
With that the witch was said to have turned Roland into the Kings Stone, his army into the Kings Men & the Knights into the Whispering Knights. The area, like many parts of rural England has a long association with witchcraft, we will bring more blog posts to you of this nature over the coming year.
We you will join us on one of our Cotswolds Guided Tours, if you would like to take a Cotswolds day trip from London, or perhaps make a Cotswolds journey from Oxford, then we are easily accessible by train to Moreton in Marsh. Where our Cotswolds Tours start each day, or if you are staying locally we also collect guests from Chipping Campden, Stow on the Wold & Bourton on the Water, so we can pick you up & show you around on our £45 per person, 6 hour north Cotswolds tours.