Standing Stones: OS Grid Reference – SP 35487 24627
Also Known as:
- King Lud’s Stone
- Leodwine’s stone
Just get to the top of the hill thru the village and where the sharp bend turns, you’ll find one of the monoliths up against the wall above the roadside (hard to find in the undergrowth sometimes!). The other stone is on the eastern side of the road through Lidstone from the A44, halfway into the village itself.
Archaeology & History
There are two small stones to be found in the lovely little hamlet of Lidstone. The main one—Leodwin’s Stone—is at coordinate SP 35517 24656; and the smaller stone further up the hill is at SP 35487 24627. First described in a treatise from 1235 AD as Lidenstan, the great place-name writer Ekwall (1940) thought this derived from ‘Leodwine’s Stone.” A few years later Gelling (1954) told us that “there is a monolith at Lidstone”, which she thought gave rise to the place-name, and not some chap named Leodwine. Whichever it may be, we certainly have two small upright stones here — both worth having a look at if such things take your interest. (Tom Wilson and I included them in our short survey of the standing stones of the region in 1999) Further up at the top of the hill from here are the remains of an old tumulus.
Said by Caroline Pumphrey (1990) to be the resting place of old King Lud, one of England’s last great pagan kings; another local writer Elsie Corbett (1962) also told a tale well-known to folklore students about this little monolith. She related how a local man they knew as Mr Hitchcock told them,
“that they used to kid the boys there by telling them that when the stone hears the clock strike twelve it goes down to the stream to drink, and that it was just a ‘catch’ because there was no striking clock in the first place; but it is a ‘catch’ tacked onto some tale that must have been told in the hamlet long ages before there were clocks at all.”
The said stream is a short distance due north of here, down the little valley. The tale may come from it once acting as a shadow-marker, highlighting midday when the sun was high in the sky due south. Makes sense of the folktale anyway!
- Bennett, Paul & Wilson, Tom, The Old Stones of Rollright and District, Cockley: London 1999.
- Corbett, Elsie, A History of Spelsbury, Cheney & Sons: Banbury 1962.
- Ekwall, Eilert, Oxford Dictionary of Place-Names, OUP: Oxford 1940.
- Gelling, Margaret, The Place-Names of Oxfordshire – volume 2, Cambridge University Press 1954.
- Pumphrey, Caroline, Charlbury of our Childhood, Sessions Books: York 1990.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian