North-easterly: Sidetracked and Gobsmacked

We had chosen to take a very long route home for one simple reason… there was something we wanted to see that was never going to be on our way to anywhere. So the possible three hour journey took us over ten, and all to see a stone… a single standing stone… but a stone unlike any other in the country: the Rudston Monolith.

It stands in the churchyard of All Saints, Rudston, in the East Riding of Yorkshire and is the tallest megalith in the United Kingdom. It is nearly twenty-six feet tall, and was, until the ground of the churchyard was levelled in 1861, five feet taller, with at least another fifteen feet of stone below ground… and possibly more. William Stukely, who excavated the site, finding many skulls, found that there was at least as much of the stone buried as now stands above ground.

The stone is around three and a half feet thick and five feet nine inches wide. It is thought to weigh around forty tonnes and is of a stone called Moorstone Grit. Because of the particular type of stone, it was not found here, but must have been carried to the site from either Cayton Bay, ten miles away, or Grosmont, nearly forty miles away.

The point of the monolith is weathered in fluted channels, in the way that we have seen at so many sites. In 1773 it was capped with lead to prevent further erosion, uncapped, then recapped again. If the stone had once come to a point, before the weather had its way, it would have been at least another two feet taller than it is today.

The stone was erected in the Neolithic period or early Bronze Age… no-one knows for certain. In Britain, the Neolithic period began around six and a half thousand years ago, with the change to the Bronze Age beginning around two thousand years later. It is thought to have stood here on its hilltop for around five thousand years. But facts and figures are not the whole story… and they are the least impressive thing about this stone.

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About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
This entry was posted in adventure, albion, Ancestors, Ancient sites, Churches, England, History, Landscape, mystery, Photography, Sacred sites, Spirituality, Stuart France and Sue Vincent and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to North-easterly: Sidetracked and Gobsmacked

  1. I imagine it was raised by someone grieving. Someone who had loved. Or maybe it was a gathering place, unmistakable for miles, before maps. I love all the standing stones in the British Isles. Like the cave paintings and pueblos, they stir the imagination and bring out emotion, even though our connection to the people who made them is lost.

    Liked by 1 person

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