River Avon Stone, Bulford, Wiltshire

Standing Stone (lost):  OS Grid Reference – SU 161 432

Archaeology & History

In William Stukeley’s Stonehenge, he described a number of monoliths outlying Salisbury Plain that also possessed a prehistoric pedigree.  Most of them have been recorded, but this one seems to have been forgotten about — perhaps by virtue of it having fallen into the River Avon!  Edgar Barclay (1895) described it in his fine survey, saying:

“In the bend of the river below the village, is a large submerged stone; only during drought is any portion of it visible above water; it can, however, in ordinary times, be dimly seen from the bank, which is of chalk, here very steep and overgrown.  The country people assert that a metal ring, “turning always,” is let into its upper end.  Legend relates that when the Devil brought the rocks of Stonehenge from Ireland, tied together with withes, this stone escaped from the bundle and fell into the river.  Its position forbids the belief that it got fixed in the bed of the stream when its passage to Stonehenge was being attempted, for it lies immediately beneath the crest of a very steep bank, and at its most inaccessible point; as the stream sweeps against this, the water must always have been deep at this spot, the open valley would everywhere offer more favourable points for such an operation, especially would this be the case before the Avon was dyked.  A boundary stone would have been placed on the brow of the hill; if the stone be a grey-wether, as report says, and as is probable, it may originally have stood on the bank, and “once upon a time”, a ring having been fixed in it, it may have been dragged into the stream to moor a ferry-boat.  It lies closely midway between the stone on Bulford Down and that in Durrington fields.”

One wonders if any local people might know more about this…

References:

  1. Barclay, Edgar, Stonehenge and its Earth-works, D. Nutt: London 1895.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

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