Oxfordshire's Historic Archives

Historic Oxfordshire

Preserving and Enhancing Access to Historic Oxfordshire
Records of Archaeological Work held by the Ashmolean Museum

Site Name: Rollright Stones

Site Location: North-West Oxfordshire
Related Achive: Manning

Documents in the Manning archives make several mentions of the Rollright Stones.

The Rollright Stones are comprised of three sites; a stone cirle of 77 stones, known as the King's Men; a single large high stone, called the King Stone and 5 large stones - the remains of a burial chamber, called the Whispering Knights. They all sit on the top of a flat plateau above Little Rollright to the south west and Long Compton to the north, and are scheduled ancient monuments.

The King's Men: The diameter of the circle is approximately 31 meters. A programme of survey including documentary, aerial photographic research and fieldwork suggest regular but temporary occupation - except for the Iron Age - since the Neolithic period, the circle probably being Bronze Age. Local superstition says that every time you count them, you never get the same number.

The King Stone stands 8 feet high and 5 feet wide, approximately 75m north east of the stone circle. The Stone is just over the border in the parish of Long Compton, Warwickshire. Excavations in 1981 and more recent research suggest the stone was a cemetery marker.

The Whispering Knights consist of four stones set vertically to define a chamber about 6 feet square, the fifth, a capstone, resting at an angle. No trace of a mound. This is dated to c2000B.C. Fieldwalking in the vicinity produced a general distribution of flints.


Archaeologia, LXXI, p248

Thomas, Guide to Prehistoric England (1960), p168

Ravenhill, The Rollright Stones (1926) (Rept. Oxf. Archaeol. Soc. 1926) (Trans.B'ham Archaeol. Soc. Vol II, 1928, pp. 43-4)

Burl, Stone Circles of British Isles (1976)

Beesley, N. Oxon Archaeol. Society (1853-5) p61-74DOE List (1971) p.172

Lambrick, G. The Rollright Stones (1983)

Crawford, Long Barrows of the Cotswolds, (1924)

Daniel, Prehistoric Chambered Tombs (1950)

Corcoran, in Powell et al, Megalithic Enquiries in the West of Britain (Liverpool, 1969)

Site Photographs

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Kings Men looking north
The Kings Men looking towards the north (March 2006)
See a closer view
Kings Men

Another view of King's Men looking north (March 2006)

King Stone

King Stone looking towards the north (March 2006)
Whispering Knight stones
Whispering Knights looking towards the north-west (March 2006)
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