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…and for once it’s good news!

For the first time in recorded history the Rollright Stones straddling the Oxfordshire Warwickshire border on the edge of the Cotswolds have come under one ownership.

This time last month we were reporting on a possibly damaging upgrade of the road which runs between the Rollright Stones stone circle and the adjacent King Stone on the other side of the road, and in the neighbouring county of Warwickshire[*].

The Rollright Trust already owns the stone circle and the nearby Whispering Knights burial chamber, and last week, an announcement was made  that the Trust has now acquired possession of the King Stone, a Bronze Age standing stone which marks the location of a Bronze Age cemetery. The three monuments span a period of around 2500 years, from 5800BC (The Whispering Knights), 3500BC (The circle) and 2500BC (the King Stone), and around 2000 years later, the Saxons built a cemetery of their own close by.

The Rollright Stones were recorded as one of the ‘Wonders of Britain’ in the 12th century AD, and were among the very first monuments to be put into state protection (in 1883 and 1894), though they have remained in private ownership.  The King Stone has hitherto been looked after by the Haine family who have farmed the land for decades.  It will now be under the day-to-day management of the Rollright Trust who seek to ensure that the monuments are not commercialised but make a positive contribution to peopleís well-being through education, cultural events and other initiatives, widening awareness of their archaeological and historical interest and spiritual associations.

The Trust also seeks to conserve and enhance the wildlife value of the Stones and their surroundings, including over 70 species of lichens, some of them regionally or nationally rare.  The acquisition of the King Stone includes over 3 acres of pasture land, which, with the support of the Cotswolds Glorious Grasslands initiative, the Trust is planning to turn into species-rich flowery meadow.

[*] A recent petition calling for traffic calming measures rather than an increase in traffic levels at the monuments attracted over 32,000 signatures.

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