Seven long strides
The MrGyro team received a report on July 15th 2015 of a possible crop circle sighting near the quite famous Rollright Stones in the beautiful county of Oxfordshire.
Now you’ve most likely never heard of the Rollright stones and yet I just described them as “quite famous”. Well thats because they are. The first mention of the Rollright stones dates back to 1586. Thats four hundred and twenty eight years ago. By our often strange and twisted logic that means that a boat load of people must have visited and listened to the stories about the stones over the last four centuries. Therefore, pretty famous.
An ambitious and confident King is striding through the land with his men and a group of knights in tow. The King has his mind set on conquering England and has got as far as the Rollrights on his quest. Unfortunately for His Majesty, his path was crossed by a Witch who uttered the words “Seven long strides shalt thou take And if Long Compton thou canst see, King of England thou shalt be“.
The King paid little attention to the witch and continued along his way shouting “Stick, stock, stone As King of England I shall be known.”
On his seventh stride a long mound often referred to as the “Arch-Druids barrow” rose up in front of him.
The witch laughed at the King and declared “As Long Compton thou canst not see King of England thou shalt not be. Rise up stick and stand still stone For King of England thou shalt be none; Thou and thy men hoar stones shall be And I myself an eldern tree.”
With that the King was promptly turned to stone along with his men and his Knights. The men now stand as the stone circle you can see in the picture above and the Knights stand as a group of stones a short distance away.
The witch for reasons unknown decided to turn herself into an Elder tree. This tree is said to be in the hedge between the King Stone and the stone circle. If the Elder tree is cut, in blossom, it will bleed. People used to gather around the King Stone on Midsummers Eve and the Elder tree would be cut. It is said that when this happend the king would nod his head.
The Crop Circle
From the ground we could clearly see the larger of the two circles. We took to the air using our trusty tricopter and began to take pictures. We were surprised to see that the circle had a friend in the form of a smaller circle surrounded by a ring. The smaller of the two circles was significantly less complex than the larger circle but did not look out of place.
The Rollright Stones offer an interesting location for crop circles to appear. A very historic area shrouded in myths and legends of witchcraft, magic and Faeries. Perhaps the circles were created by the frustrated Knights in an attempt to send a message? Perhaps the witch is letting us know that there is still magic in this landscape. Who knows?
- For the last century, girls and young women have visited the Whispering Knights and pressed their ears to stones to hear the Knights whisper the name of their future husband.
- It is said that underneath the stone circle and the King Stone there are caves occupied by Faeries who come out at midnight and dance around the stones in the moonlight.
- Legend has it that it is impossible to count the stones that make up the stone circle (the Kings Men) and come up with the same number.
- A baker once declared that he could count the number of stones that make up the Kings Men. He baked a number of loaves and placed one on each stone. When he attempted to count up the number of loaves he found that some had gone missing believing that they had been spirited away by the Faeries.
- It is said that the witches spell is temporarily broken at midnight when the Kings Men come back to life, join hands and dance in a circle. Legend has it that if anyone witnesses this they will either go mad or die.
- A local farmer is said to have removed the capstone of the Whispering Knights in order to build a bridge across a stream. It took a score of horses to drag the stone down the hill to the stream. Strange and eery noises gave the farmer no peace – every morning the stone had turned over and lay on the bank. The farmer finally decided that enough was enough and that he had to take the stone back. With the greatest of ease one horse pulled the stone back up the hill.