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Not for the first time a local astronomy group has adopted a stone circle as an appropriate observation site. The Chipping Norton Amateur Astronomy Group now often meets at the Rollright Stones, Oxfordshire – as well they might. In the words of the Reverend Percival Oakley Hill in 1894: “The top of Rollright hill was so admirably suited to the purposes of the Druid astrologers, that our modern astronomers might profitably select it as the site of a great Midland observatory.”

And actually the first use of the circle may well have been 2,000 years earlier than that – and not by Druids and not for astrology but for pure observational scientific astronomy – which maybe makes the Chipping Norton Amateur Astronomy Group the oldest local astronomy group in the world…


Anyhow, they’re holding an interesting open event at the Rollright Stones from midday to midnight on Saturday, 7th May; a Spring Moonwatch. Activities include a Telescope display, solar observing, kids drawing competition, Black Knights Model Rocket Society (launching if weather allows) plus George Lambrick talking about the Rollright Stones followed by observing in the evening.

The Rollright Stones and The Men Who Erected Them
By T H Ravenhill 

First published in 1926 (second edition 1932) The Rollright Stones by T H Ravenhill packs into a mere 63 pages a wealth of information on the Rollright Stones. From historical references, the origin of the name Rollright, its folklore, a description of the circle itself, through to information on the nearby King Stone monolith and the 5000 year old Whispering Knights dolmen. The booklet also contains a black and white photograph of the 14th century manuscript (thought to be the earliest known account of the stones) in the library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, a map of the area, as well as a line drawing of the King Stone, several poems about the stones, and three appendices.

For further information on the stones visit The Rollright Stones website.


May 2021

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