SP2930 : The Whispering Knights

taken 4 years ago, near to Long Compton, Warwickshire, Great Britain

This is 1 of 13 images, with title The Whispering Knights in this square
The Whispering Knights
The Whispering Knights
Unfortunately it has been deemed necessary to surround the ancient stones known as The Whispering Knights with a protective fence - but considering the mindless vandalism that has occurred elsewhere on the site, this is perhaps a sensible precaution.
These stones have stood here for at least five and a half thousand years being a Neolithic burial chamber of the Portal Dolmen type.
See the shared description below for more information.
Also see other photos of them SP2930 : The Whispering Knights - Collapsed Cap Stone and SP2930 : Ore stabit fortis arare placet ore stat
The Rollright Stones
There are three main sites comprising the Rollright Stones, namely
1) The King Stone - A large single standing stone
2) The King's Men - A stone circle, and
3) The Whispering Knights - A burial chamber
There are also a few outlying stones and an Anglo-Saxon burial ground within the group.
The King Stone lies to the north of the minor road which cuts through the site, while all the other components lie to the south of it - quaintly this puts the former in Warwickshire with the latter in Oxfordshire as the lane is the county boundary.
Below are brief descriptions of the three main components:
1) The King Stone
The King Stone is a large standing stone probably erected to mark a Bronze Age cemetery, dating back to c. 1800-1500 BC
The strange shape of the stone (which from some angles looks remarkably like a seal balancing a non-existent ball) is partly due to C19th visitors who hacked bits off it to act as a lucky charm, thought to ward off the Devil. All the stones are now protected by law and any damage to them is of course a criminal offence.
In the 1980s excavations carried out next to the stone discovered a previously unsuspected circular stone burial chamber. Another burial chamber was found nearby. Both these chambers contained cremated human remains, including those of a child found in an upturned urn.
The stone itself is a single oolite orthostat, it is nearly 8' (2.4m) tall and about 5' (1.5m) wide. It stands 73m to the northeast of the King's Men (see (2) below)
2) The King's Men
The King's Men are a ceremonial stone circle, most likely dating from the late Neolithic period (New Stone Age) i.e. about 3000 BC (ie 5000 years ago). They are therefore thought to predate the King Stone by perhaps a thousand years.
It is believed that some of the lichens on the rocks which form the circle are as much as 800 years old themselves.
The ring of stones currently comprises about 70 stones, of which about a third were re-erected in 1882; it is thought however that originally there were up to 105 stones forming a continuous unbroken circle except for a narrow entrance portal of two large stones offset slightly outwards from the ring. This portal is thought to have been opposite the tallest stone of the ring.
It is believed that circles such as these were used for ceremonial purposes - and whilst not used as a burial ground themselves, both the other monuments here were associated with burials, so perhaps the circle was where the "funeral" rather than the interment took place, rather like an ancient church.
The stones themselves are extremely pitted and worn, and it is thought that they are local surface boulders, found probably within 500m of the site, and fashioned with the simple tools of the day, such as antlers and stones.
3) The Whispering Knights
The Whispering Knights are the remains of an early Neolithic (New Stone Age) burial chamber probably dating to around 4000-3500 BC making them the oldest part of the Rollright site. This was the time of the first settlement of the area by farming communities.
The tomb is of the "Portal Dolmen" type; two doorpost-like massive stones either side of another large slab acting like a sealed door; a large cap-stone (now collapsed) would have effectively made a roof to the structure.
The stones continued to be used as a burial site well into the following Bronze Age.
............
English Heritage Ancient Monument listing for The Rollright Stones here: LinkExternal link
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Rob Farrow and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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Grid Square
SP2930, 182 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
  (find more nearby)
Date Taken
Friday, 18 September, 2015   (more nearby)
Submitted
Friday, 23 October, 2015
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Village, Rural settlement 
Primary Subject of Photo
Dolmen 
Place (from Tags)
Rollright Stones 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 2993 3084 [10m precision]
WGS84: 51:58.5136N 1:33.9411W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 2993 3083
View Direction
Northwest (about 315 degrees)
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Other Tags
Burial Chamber  Neolithic Burial Chamber 

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Image classification(about): Geograph
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