Jul
15

The Rudstone Monolith

The Rudston Monolith at over 7.6 metres (25 ft) is the tallest megalith (Standing stone) in the United Kingdom. It is situated in the churchyard in the village of Rudston in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

The nearest source (Cayton or Cornelian Bay) of stone of the type the monolith is made of is 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) north of the site. It was probably erected around 1600 BC. There is one other smaller stone, of the same type, in the churchyard, which was once situated near the large stone. The Norman church was almost certainly intentionally built on a site which was already considered sacred, a practice which was common through the country, indeed the name of Rudston is thought to come from the Old English “Rood-stane”, meaning “cross-stone”, implying that a stone already venerated was adapted for Christian purposes. Royston stated that in 1861 during levelling of the church yard an additional 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) of the monolith was buried. The weight is estimated at 40 tons (~40,000 kg). Sir William Strickland is reported to have conducted an experiment in the late 18th century determining that there was as much of the stone below ground as is visible above. Strickland found many skulls during his dig and suggests they might have been sacrificial. The top appears to have broken off the stone. If pointed, the stone would originally have stood about 8.5 metres (28 ft). In 1773 the stone was capped in lead, this was later removed, though the stone is capped currently.