Ringstone, Cropredy, Oxfordshire

Stone Circle (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SP 470 464?     

Also Known as:

  1. Ringstone Well

Archaeology & History

In 1239 CE we find records of a field-name site called “Ringstoneswelle.” Although the place-name writer Margaret Gelling (1954) initially ascribed this as the watering-place of some dood called Hringstan, it is in fact the only record that I’ve found of a “stone circle by a well” in the village.  This etymological root is confirmed in A.H. Smith’s English Place-Name Elements (vol.1, p.265) as a probable stone circle.


There is also the curious field-name legend of a place in Cropredy called Kirk or Church Piece, where a christian church was being built, but in the morning all the stones had been uprooted & moved back from whence they came. This happened several times according to the folktale – a story that has with all the hallmarks of a megalithic site. (see Grinsell’s Folklore)  To me it seems likely that the nearby Cup and Saucer Stone also had something to do with this lost stone circle.

In the same area we have another intriguing bit of folklore that was reported in an early edition of the Banbury Guardian (1932) which told that,

“on one of the top stones of a wall in front of one of the farmhouses is what is supposed to be the Devil’s footprint and there are nail-marks in the stone, but how it gots it name is a puzzle.  At the back of the vicarage gardens is a small jetty called HellHole, the old ‘Old Man’ must have visited this village a time or two.”

Are there any local antiquarians or historians who can throw further light on this seemingly lost megalithic ring?


  1. Anonymous, ‘Cropredy and its Legends,’ in Banbury Guardian, December 29, 1932.
  2. Bennett, Paul & Wilson, Tom, The Old Stones of Rollright and District, Cockley: London 1999.
  3. Gelling, Margaret, The Place-Names of Oxfordshire – volume 2, Cambridge University Press 1954.
  4. Grinsell, Leslie V., Folklore of Prehistoric Sites in Britain, David & Charles: London 1976.
  5. Smith, A.H., English Place-Name Elements – Part 1, Cambridge University Press 1954.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

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