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A guest feature by Albert Resonox

Goldstone looking west

The Goldstone Valley in Brighton was once one of the most famous stone circle sites in Sussex in the early 19th century. Its earliest written mention was by a Rev. Douglas who commented in a letter that, “…it is evidently a tolmen (sic) of the British (aka druidic) period…” and further observed that at the end of the valley there was, “…situated a dilapidated cirque composed of large stones…” (reports vary between six and ten stones, although nine smallish stones now surround the Goldstone in its present position).

The Goldstone however was toppled in 1833 into a purpose built pit by the then farmer landowner annoyed at the number of people visiting the stone and ruining his crops.

The stones of the “cirque” followed suit in 1847 by being used to fill a pond. They all remained hidden for over half a century until their hiding places were discovered in 1900 by a William Hollamby, who had most of them exhumed and set up at the southern entrance of Hove Park, where they can be viewed to this day. Unfortunately extensive building work and landscaping of the area means that the original site will never be available for any archaeological examination and/or verification.

The Victoria Fountain

Some of the stones of the circle are reported to have been used as the foundation for The Victoria Fountain in Old Steine, Brighton. Football fans will be aware that Brighton and Hove Albion’s first football stadium was called Goldstone Ground.

The very name is said to be a corruption of either The God Stone or even Gield Stone, because the stone was said to represent a deity as it had the appearance of a human face looking out to sea, like an early version of Rapa Nui.  Due to erosion (and not knowing if it has been re-sited right way up ) this “face” is only visible in the eyes of the very imaginative).


St. Nicholas Church

Church Hill in Brighton was also the site of some impressive standing stones, they surrounded the church of St. Nicholas. 19th century sketches (in Brighton Museum) show that at least two stones were upright at the time, an urn containing human bones was found at the base of one stone (which was never recorded for posterity). Two beakers were also found in Church Hill, indicating Neolithic/Iron Age burials. Again, as with the Goldstone, building work has destroyed any vestiges of these stones so no-one knows if they were a natural rock deposit used for burial purposes or whether they were erected as a monument to mark a noble  burial!

It is also claimed that these stones were the ones used to create the base of the Victoria fountain. So one way or another it is almost assured that some ancient stones were used for this purpose.


February 2010

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