The Rollright Stones
, a stone circle in the Cotswolds
, are said to have been created when the King and his men had a run in with a local witch
The king and his army had come to conquer Britain
, but when they arrived at Rollright, Mother Shipton
(a notorious witch, prophet, and the protagonist
of many local legends) appeared before the king and announced
Seven long strides thou shalt take,
And if Long Compton thou shalt see,
King of England thou shalt be.
The king didn't see any problem with this minor challenge
, but before he could complete his paces a hill sprang up before him obscuring Long Compton
, and the witch was triumphant
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 shall be none
Thou and thy men hoar stones shall be
And I myself an elder tree.
The king, his men and his knights were turned to stone. It is said that the witch-elder can be found in a nearby hedge
(which is more than likely, given the abundance of elder
trees in hedgerow
s). It is claimed that the witch-elder bleeds when cut.
Oh, and the stones take a little walk at midnight
of New Year's Eve
, and go down for a drink at the spring at Little Rollright. Fairies live under the stones. Druid
s danced there. Ley lines
cross there. Pagan
s worship there. Kids lose count there. There are no end of stories at the Rollright Stones. The small fact that Mother Shipton
was around a good 3500 years after the stones were in place shouldn't be allowed to mess with a tasty legend.