Hidden East Anglia:

Landscape Legends of Eastern England











Landscape Features



Significant stones:

Apart from those with legendary tales attached to them, there are various other rocks scattered about East Anglia, relics of the last Ice Age, that may once have been significant in some way. Because most of the region has no visible native stone, people dragged these 'glacial erratic' boulders from where they were found and set them in positions that they felt important - some say they were used as markers on ancient tracks, or on boundaries, or perhaps they were used as meeting-places, or even as sacred pagan objects that formed the core of later Christian sites.

Personally, I tend to think most were just used to protect the corners of buildings against traffic, to mark property boundaries, to act as mounting blocks, to be extra building material, or just to provide a local talking point! Whatever they were, below is a selection that I have record of in this region.


You can also go to the Stone Index - a complete list of just about every odd stone that I know about. It includes not only those featured on this webpage and those with legendary tales, but others that I've read or been told about, or have found myself.


Alphamstone, Essex: If there weren’t so many sarsen boulders laying around the village – on verges, under hedgerows, in gardens etc – those in and around the church of St. Barnabas (TL878354) would be more remarkable than they are. One count makes it nine in the churchyard, with another two protruding from the fabric inside the church itself.1 Two more are embedded beside the path leading up to the raised platform upon which the building sits. A Bronze Age urn cemetery has been found in and next to the churchyard, and a Roman villa complex just to the south – but there seems no evidence for the idea that the church sits on a burial mound.2 The notion that the boulders form the remnants of a stone circle is even more unlikely.3



1. http://www.megalithia.com/places/alphamstone/

2. http://ansellsfarm.co.uk/history/alphamstone-church/

3. https://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=381601


Arrington, Cambs: The current church of St. Nicholas (TL325503) is basically of the 13th century, but there was probably a wooden building on the site before the Norman Conquest. This was possibly borne out in 1999, when emergency excavations were carried out due to structural cracking, and traces of burning were found beneath the remains of the medieval floor. Also discovered at this time was a "massive" boulder of ironstone, buried beneath the east wall. Such a rock would be unnecessary for the underpinning of a wooden church, so its placement there is intriguing.



Arrington Parish Council: 'Parish Plan Steering Group-Final Report' (2005), p.15.

'St. Nicholas, Arrington - Statement of Significance' Part 1, p.4.


Bacton, Suffolk: A large boulder once lay here in a ditch by the roadside "near the entry gate that divides Haughley and Bacton". This would seem to be where the parish boundary crosses the road, which is called 'Boys Entry' on old maps (about TL035652). The stone was said to be 6 feet x 6 feet x 4 feet (1.8m x 1.8m x 1.2m), but I've scoured the area and can find no trace of it.


Source: 'The East Anglian Miscellany' (1911-12), Note 3403.


Bardfield Saling, Essex: There is a large sandstone rock buried in the grass just outside the entrance to the churchyard at St. Peter and St. Paul’s (TL686265).1 Plus a corner buttress of the nave of the church is built upon another very large boulder.2



1. https://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gateway/Results_Single.aspx?uid=MEX4434&resourceID=1001

2. https://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gateway/Results_Single.aspx?uid=MEX4427&resourceID=1001


Barking, Suffolk: An old charter giving a perambulation of the bounds of the manor of Barking with Needham Market follows a route "...to a place called Deadmans-stone, and from the said Deadmans-stone to a Wood called Ditcheywood..." This seems to be the same stone mentioned to me by John G. Williams as being at TM082519, on the parish boundary beside Ditch Wood, near Tarston Hall, and may well be the same boulder seen here.

Barnham Broom, Norfolk: Although now marked on maps as Skipping Block Corner, the 'Skipping Block' which once stood at this crossroads (TG074053) on the old boundary between Barnham Broom and Kimberley no longer exists. Local people say that there was once a large stone here, with steps cut into it for use as a mounting block.

Source: W. A. Dutt: 'The Ancient Mark-Stones of East Anglia' (Flood & Sons, 1926), pp.23-4.

Beachamwell, Norfolk: The Cowell Stone, a glacial erratic boulder, is to be found on the grassy verge of a track called Salter's Way just north of the A1122 Swaffham to Downham Market road, at the approximate junction of the Roman Fen Causeway extension and the supposedly prehistoric Icknield Way (TF767095).1 Once marking both parish and Hundred boundaries, it's been thought to be a way-marker, a boundary stone, or even a Roman milestone.2 This rounded rock, when I first saw it in the 1970's, only had about 25cm showing above ground, then with an Ordnance Survey benchmark on it, and a brass bolt driven into the top. In the 1980's it was unearthed, and moved a few metres along and further back from the track. I visited again in July 2015, and the stone now visible is 1m x 89cm x 60cm high, set on a bed of stones, and not in its original orientation. Rubbish is accumulating behind it. A weathered iron plaque is attached, stating it to be a waymarker from the Bronze Age. The name may derive from Cow Hill, supposedly an old name for the area where it stands. Dr. Ernest Rudge proclaimed this boulder to be a part of his 'Puddingstone Track',3 even though it's Spilsby sandstone, not a conglomerate of any kind.


1. W. G. Clarke: 'In Breckland Wilds' (Robert Scott, 1925), p.121.

2. Bruce Robinson & Edwin J. Rose: 'Norfolk Origins 2: Roads & Tracks' (Poppyland Publishing, 1983), p.19.

3. E. A. & E. L. Rudge 'The Conglomerate Track' in 'Essex Naturalist' Vol.29 (1952), p.31.

Beccles, Suffolk: Descend the left-hand set of steps from St. Michael's churchyard down into the road called Puddingmoor, and turn left for about 30 metres. A steep grassy bank (The Cliff) rises upon your left, and on the crest of this stands a large, pitted slab of grey rock, deeply embedded into the ground (TM421904). The stone is 1.4m long, 76cm high, and only 23cm broad, and the long axis is set exactly north-south. A local woman suggested to me that the stone marks the site of a mill, but that's unlikely. It now overlooks the river Waveney, which was once an inland arm of the sea. W. A. Dutt reckoned that this stone was the original sacred site of Beccles, and determined where the town was built.1

R. C. Dunt, writing in 1931, said that "Generations of increasingly-civilised boys and girls have encircled this stone, sat on it, jumped off it, chipped at it, but failed to dislodge it or even to remove...the glacial markings of an ice age; nor have they...concerned themselves much with such questions as these: Is it a relic of pagan rites, an isolated remnant of an old watch-tower, a rough block of building stone brought down by river barges long ago, and was it placed there or elsewhere as a 'Mark Stone' of an 'Old Track'?"2 On the left is how the stone looked when I photographed it in the 1970s. In 2010 it looked like this.



1.  W.A.Dutt: 'Ancient Mark-Stones of East Anglia' (1926), p.12. 

2. 'Norwich Mercury', 18/4/1931.

Beccles, Suffolk: Again in Beccles, a few feet from the river bank at the bottom of a garden in the street called Northgate, lies a large granite boulder known to the owners when I was there in the 1970's as the Barsham Trysting Stone (TM422907). This is of a roughly 'mushroom' shape, with a circular top, 1.4m across and 61cm high. It originally stood at TM395895, near a pond in Rectory Paddock, in the village of Barsham. The story related to me by the owners is that, in the 1930s, a certain Doctor Worthington made a bet with the rector that, if he could move the stone, he would roll it to Beccles, 2 miles east, and use it in his rock garden.

But a surviving daughter of the then Barsham rector, Canon Baron Suckling, tells me that her father gave it to a Dr. Woodhill of Beccles "during the late 1920s".1 She had always assumed it to have been a mounting-block. The name of the stone could be a more recent addition, since none of the locals who remember it ever knew it by any name. One writes: "...we local lads used to sharpen our pocket-knives on it; it was always a resting-place for the children, and I can remember during the summer months having lessons on and around this stone".2

This informant also voiced the opinion of several other villagers that the stone should never have been removed, and should now be returned to them. William Fowler, writing in 1947, mentioned this stone as "a very fine one", adding that "it was lying embedded at the crossways leading from an old track at Barsham Hall, close to a circular pond among a few fir trees. In the unskillful removal that followed it was considerably damaged, but sufficient remains to show its original size and shape".3


1. Information from Mrs. M. Eggington of New Barnet. 

2. Information from Benjamin Sayer of Barsham. 

3. The 'Eastern Daily Press', 4/11/1947.


Beccles, Suffolk: In a garden directly across Northgate from the Barsham Trysting Stone above is another granite rock, this one 1m x 60cm x 60cm high (TM421907). Back when I saw it in the late 1970s, it was reported to be in danger from Water Board diggings. Although some call it the Brampton Stone (after the village 5 miles south of Beccles), I haven't been able to find anything about it. The garden belongs to Staithe House, former home of Dr. Woodhill from the Trysting Stone story, but whether he was also responsible for moving this stone here, I can't say. More recently, I've found that another boulder was given to Dr. Woodhill by a man named Samuel Banns, but this one came from a field at Burgh St. Peter, across the river in Norfolk. Yet another rock is also supposed to be here, referred to in the 1930s as Redisham Stone.



Boxted, Essex: A sarsen stone approximately 1.2m x 45cm juts from the wall at the south-west corner of St. Peter's church (TL998332), with other fragments in the foundations. The church tower is also extensively faced with rocks of dark brown ferricrete.


Source: Terry Johnson: ‘Hidden Heritage: Discovering Ancient Essex’ (Capall Bann Publishing, 1996), p.73.


Braintree, Essex: A sarsen stone is embedded in the ground right next to the western wall of St. Michael’s church (TL756229). It’s positioned rather oddly, as it seems to be right next to the foundations, but not a part of them.


Source: http://sulismanoeuvre.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/braintree-sarcens.html



Bramford, Suffolk: A huge, flattish glacial boulder can be seen within St. Mary's church, built into the foundations of a pillar in the nave (TM127463)1. This is a sarsen, the visible portion measuring 1.75m x 75cm x 25 cm high.



There are also two glacial rocks in the exterior of the north wall, measuring 70cm x 52cm and 64cm x 47cm.





Two more are embedded in the churchyard near the west end of the building. The angular one is 68cm x 48cm x 21cm high, while the more rounded one is 66cm x 45cm x 10cm high.




Another very large, rectangular, glacial erratic in Bramford can be found in - and supposedly gave its name to -  Gippingstone Road. Measuring 1.35m x 96cm x 50cm high, it stands in the angle of a fence outside Cherryfields Sheltered Housing (TM122464).2




1. W.A.Dutt: 'Ancient Mark-Stones of East Anglia' (1926), p.13.

2. Barry Cross photos on Flickr


Brent Eleigh, Suffolk: There is a group of three substantial glacial rocks embedded at an 'ancient crossroads' in this village, at TL941478, close by the Cock Inn.


Source: Barry Cross photos on Flickr


Broomfield, Essex: The church of St. Mary with St. Leonard stands at TL705105. On grass verges outside the lych gate are two smallish sarsen stones, but the significant rock here is a ferricrete boulder built into the exterior south wall of the church, protruding out in a very odd position about 20cm above ground level. There are apparently two smaller ferricrete stones built into the church, and another larger one (though not protruding) near the porch, at the base of the tower.





Ken Searles: 'Broomfield. The Churchyard Fence Lists. The People and the Buildings' (unpublished, 2007), Vol.1, p.46-7; Essex Record Office, T/P 774/1/1.


Caldecote, Cambs: Excavations of an Iron Age 'banjo enclosure' and settlement have revealed an enormous quartzitic boulder buried at the base of a pit, just east of Highfields Road, at TL353587. Although probably just a glacial erratic, it was said to be "massive", and its presence described by archaeologists as "intriguing". The discovery seems remarkably similar to that noted below at Takeley in Essex.


Source: Scott Kenney & Alice Lyons: "An Iron Age banjo enclosure and contemporary settlement at Caldecote, Cambridgeshire" in 'Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society', Vol. 100 (2011), p.70.


Carlton Colville, Suffolk: In this suburb of Lowestoft, a small stream known as the Running Waters (or Kirkley Brook) is bridged on its way from the source in the village to the marshy ground by Lowestoft harbour. This site (on the 1799 Award Map, named as Blacksmith's Heath),  is said to have once been a ford on a track that led up to the ancient encampments and burial mound (now long gone) on Bloodmoor Hill. Roughly at this spot (approx. TM524905) stood a large stone 'way-mark' at the crossroads, now a roundabout. It was supposed to have been buried nearby in 1925 for road-widening purposes, but a local author wrote in 1953 as if it was still visible then.



W. A. Dutt: 'Ancient Mark-Stones of East Anglia' (1926), p.8.

Rev. B. P. W. Stather Hunt: 'Flinten History' (Lion Press, 1953), p.13.


Cawston, Norfolk:

Glacial boulders known as 'bluestones' were commonly found in this area, as evidenced by the names Bluestone Plantation and the former Bluestone railway station. Two such rocks can still be found today, one just inside the entrance to Church Farm (TG133239), the other by the path to the south porch of the church.




That at the farm is a considerable rock, over a metre long x 60cm x 60cm high, while that at the church is a much smaller stone, barely embedded, measuring only 36cm x 35cm x 15cm high.




Source: http://cawstonheritage.co.uk/collections/show/1

Chadwell St. Mary, Essex: Back in 1912, a "large sarsen" was noted in the churchyard here (TQ646785). A hollow in the surface contained the letters NG and the numbers 1691, "concerning which fantastic theories were current." However, this was found to refer to the death in that year of the churchwarden Nathaniel Glascock - it was a natural rock used as a gravestone, rather than some esoteric monument from prehistory.1 By 1920 there were two sarsens recorded here, one with a mammilated surface.2 But in 2003 only one "sarsen fragment" was visible, 100cm x 50cm x 35cm".3


1. Walter Johnson: 'Byways in British Archaeology' (Cambridge University Press, 1912), p.50.

2. 'Ramble in the West Tilbury District' in 'Essex Naturalist' Vol.19, 1920, p.120.

3. Gerald Lucy: 'Essex Erratic Boulders: a Gazetteer', in 'Essex Naturalist' (New Series) 20, 2003, p.127.

Cockfield, Suffolk: About half-way along the road from Cockfield to Felsham is a threeways junction where Felsham Road and Bury Road meet (TL925560.) Embedded in the grassy triangle in the middle of the junction used to be a small glacial boulder, roughly conical in shape. By itself, this was nothing more than another erratic, of little significance. However, just a few metres away on another grassy verge is a landmark known as the Hundred-stone. Looking rather like an old milestone, this three-sided object may date from the 18th century, and once had visible on it the words "This marks the bounds of three Hundreds and three towns." The hundreds that met here were Babergh, Thedwastre and Cosford, while the 'towns' whose parish boundaries still meet at this point are Cockfield, Felsham and Thorpe Morieux. As the geographical unit known as the hundred dates from Saxon times, I can't help but wonder if the little boulder wasn't the original 'hundred-stone' here. The boulder was visible on Google Street View in 2009, but it had gone by 2011.


Churchill Babington: 'Materials for a History of Cockfield, Suffolk', in 'Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology' (1880), p.18.

'Suffolk Fair' (Vol.1, No.8 Dec. 1971) p.19-26.


Colne Engaine, Essex: Although the parish boundary crosses the A1124 about 50m away, the substantial glacial erratic block on the wide grass verge outside Parley Beams Farm at TL837291 has been described as a boundary stone. (HERE on Street View.) A second stone was noted there in the past.1


Sarsen blocks, as well as pieces of puddingstone and Roman material, are incorporated into the lower courses of the tower at St. Andrew's church (TL850303).2



1. https://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gateway/Results_Single.aspx?uid=MEX1032916&resourceID=1001

2. http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1342059

Coltishall, Norfolk: An object in the churchyard of St. John's (TG271197) used to be described as the possible base of a medieval stone cross - but it has since been identified as a glacial erratic. It can be found just inside the churchyard wall, near to the porch on the north side. Measuring 88cm x 76cm x 38cm high, it's very regular in form, so I can see how the misidentification occurred, but it doesn't look like it has actually been worked.

Source: http://www.heritage.norfolk.gov.uk/record-details?MNF4767

Congham, Norfolk: The Trunch Stone appears on a late 16th century map of Congham parish, and is mentioned also in a document from 1732. The boundary between Congham and Castle Rising is described as proceeding "Thence along the said Road to Short Trees down the Old Bank or Dike dividing Goos Moor from Congham Warren to a Dole at the bottom of Congham Severalls. Thence East to Trunch Stone".1 This would perhaps place it at about TF698249, where the boundary meets the road heading north from the A148 towards West Newton. A local who has followed the boundary says that the spot is currently overgrown and no stone could be found, but there is a glacial erratic not far away closer to the river.2


1. Nicola Whyte: 'Inhabiting the Landscape' (Kindle edition, 2008).

2. http://www.castle-rising-history.co.uk/Parish%20boundary%20Description%201732.pdf

Corton, Suffolk: A tiny hamlet called Newton Cross used to exist between Corton and Hopton on the east coast, but was swallowed up by the sea around the 14th century. In 1826, two stones were recorded here: "Note, that in the Prambulacon-way dividing Corton and Gorleston, stands a White Stone, anciently called John-a-Lane's Crosse; and at the west end of the sayd Prambulacon-way stands another stone where Corton, Hopton and Gorleston meet". It seems likely, however, that these were remnants of medieval wayside crosses rather than erratic boulders.

Croxton, Norfolk: In the Park here is said to stand a large glacial boulder marking the parish boundary, in a gap in an earthen boundary bank which is also part of the Icknield Way (approx. TL860880).

Drymere, Norfolk: At TF78240635 lies a sandstone block 92cm x 62cm x 53cm high, beside Beachamwell Road, south-west of Swaffham. It was moved, possibly in the 1970s, from Forestry Commission land to the north, at about TF791070, and though clearly glacial, some like to say that it was once part of a meteorite. When I first saw it many years ago it was on end, lightly embedded, but nowadays it's on its side, just resting on the surface.


Information from Ben Ripper of Swaffham.

Shirley Toulson: 'East Anglia; Walking the Ley Lines & Ancient Tracks' (Wildwood House, 1979), p.86.

Dunton, Norfolk: The 'Longfield Stone' rests (or rested) on Gallow Hill near the village of Dunton, and was the scene, in 1561 and 1568, of the Court for the Gallow Hundred.

Source: W.A.Dutt: 'Ancient Mark-Stones of East Anglia' (1926), p.17.


East Mersea, Essex: In 1975, with much local pomp and ceremony, a smallish ovoid boulder was erected beside East Mersea Road, just where the boundary between East and West Mersea crosses the road (TM036142). A plaque attached to it proclaimed “Deremy’s Stone. Boundary of the manor of West Mersea granted by King Edward the Confessor to the Monastery of St. Ouen in AD1046”. This glacial erratic, found in a ditch nearby, was believed to be the very boundary stone mentioned in an 11th century charter; but even at the time of the ceremony, doubts were raised.1 Those doubts have indeed since been proven well-founded. An 18th century rendering of the charter turned out to be badly translated, assigning the non-existent personal name Deremy or Deramy to a number of supposed locations – including a real boundary stone which would have been several miles away on the mainland, at about TM007188.2



1. merseamuseum.org.uk - deramy stone

2. http://keithbriggs.info/deramy.html


Eastwood, Essex: At the church of St. Laurence & All Saints (TQ861888), a 65cm long sarsen stone actually bursts through the floor between the pews.


Source: https://www.essexfieldclub.org.uk/St Lawrence Church Eastwood


Fairstead, Essex: Rudge once claimed a puddingstone at the base of the tower at St. Mary's church (TL768167) to be a 'pagan' stone, and part of his imagined prehistoric track. But this is actually only a small chunk of ferruginous conglomerate 45cm x 35cm, and there are plenty of others on all three sides of the tower - obviously just handy local building material.


Source: E.A. and E.L. Rudge: 'Evidence for a Neolithic Trackway in Essex' in 'Essex Naturalist' (Vol. 28, 1950, p.172.


Felsted, Essex: Until the mid 1990s a stone about 45cm high stood by a low wall in Holy Cross churchyard, at the western end of the church1, while in 2010 an archaeological evaluation exposed a large sarsen stone buried close to a corner of the tower.2 The church guide claims that 'ancient tracks' met just south of the church, marked by a stone.3 This can only refer to the junction of Station Road, Braintree Road and Chelmsford Road (TL676203), where an odd-looking white stone can be seen at the corner of the Swan pub. (See HERE on Street View.) To me, this is clearly shaped, and too small to have been anything but a 17th or 18th century milestone. However, I think there has been a mix-up with a completely different stone that indeed was once at the Swan, until the early part of the 20th century, and which has its own entry in the main Gazetteer under Felsted.



1. Terry Johnson: 'Hidden Heritage: Discovering Ancient Essex' (Capall Bann Publishing, 1996), p.90.

2. http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archiveDS/archiveDownload?t=arch-481-1/dissemination/pdf/archaeol7-91568_1.pdf

3. Michael Craze: 'A Guide to the Parish Church of Felsted in Essex', 1969)


Fordham, Essex: There is a pale brown sarsen 64 x 21cm high built into the base of a porch buttress on the south west side at All Saints church (TL927280). This is mentioned in the church guide of 1984, which doesn't note a second similar rock about 60cm from the ground in the south wall of the tower. This one is 45 x 23cm high. The guide also says there are two similar stones on a nearby farm. It's possible that one of them is the 1.3m high sarsen at Rams Farm, beside a gate at the roadside. This was moved from the farmyard to its present position in the 1960s, and was claimed by Ernest Rudge as one of his 'Puddingstone Track' boulders, but there's not a trace of a pebble in it at all.


Foulsham, Norfolk: A stone in the bottom of a ditch at TG021258, just east of Littlemore Farm, is said to mark where the old ecclesiastical parish boundaries of Foulsham, Twyford and Guist once met.


Source: Letter 'Ancient Mark Stones' in the 'Eastern Daily Press', 16/9/1925.


Fyfield, Essex: At the church of St. Nicholas (TL572067), a large sarsen stone is alleged to underpin each corner of the tower. However, when I visited I could only find one, near the foot of a buttress at the north east corner of the church. It's hard to tell if it actually continues beneath the buttress, and the tower itself is enclosed within the centre of the building. The others may now be buried the soil.


Source: www.fyfieldvillagehall.org.uk/files/Download/ParishAppraisalv2.0Web.pdf


Gorleston, Norfolk: In 1926, W. A. Dutt wrote that "In Church Lane, Gorleston, near by the church, there is a large granite boulder".1 This was in the context of ancient stones that might mark a pre-Christian sacred site. I went looking for this stone in the early 1970's and instead found two - though neither could hardly be termed 'large boulders'. One, roughly 60cm x 45cm x 20cm high, is set into the ground close to the wall just outside the Church Lane entrance to St. Andrew's churchyard. The second is slightly larger, but of a more regular, ovoid shape, set into the pavement at the foot of a telephone pole, about 20 metres further along Church Lane.


More recently I've found a record in the Gt. Yarmouth Borough Archives dating from 1922, entitled 'Church Lane, Gorleston, Re-siting of Standing Stone'. This would appear to be a third stone, about 40 metres west of the first one, not far from the junction of Church Lane with Church Road. The record is unfortunately just a surveyor's plan, showing the position of the stone before and after re-siting. The length is shown as 3 feet (1.09 metres), while the widest point looks to be about 65cm. No indication of height is given, but this would seem a far more substantial object than the other two, and could justify being termed both 'boulder' and 'standing stone'.


By the looks of it, the outer face of this stone was right at the edge of the roadway, about 2 metres from the churchyard wall, and was turned slightly and moved about a metre closer to the wall. There seems also to be a portion of a fourth stone sticking out from the base of the wall itself. These rocks are certainly not there now, and weren't when I visited in the 1970's. The nearby road junction has been changed at some point from a triangular traffic island to a large oval roundabout, and I suspect that the road, pavement and churchyard wall were remodeled at the same time, obliterating all traces of this 'standing stone'. I've tried investigating further, but there seem to be no more existing records of this stone.


Source: 1. W.A.Dutt: 'Ancient Mark-Stones of East Anglia' (1926), p.13.


Great Bardfield, Essex: At St. Mary’s church (TL678303), a big sarsen stone and a sandstone block jut out from beneath the corners of the chancel, where they support the east buttress.




Gerald Lucy: 'Essex Boulders: A Gazetteer', in 'Essex Naturalist' (New Series, No. 20, 2003), p.121.


Great Hockham, Norfolk: The huge sandstone boulder on the village green here (TL95329255) was actually found in a pit about ¾ of a mile away, and moved to its present site around 1880. It has no ancient significance, but the custom has now arisen for the stone to be turned over on special occasions, beginning with Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887. This considerable effort by the community has also taken place in 1977 for Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee, in 1995 to mark 50 years since V.E. day, at the Millennium, and for the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002. In April 2008 it was turned to celebrate the fact that Hockham Woods had been saved from quarrying, and in 2012 for the Diamond Jubilee.


Source: http://wiki.geoconservationuk.org.uk/images/6/6a/GCUK_Volume_1_Number_1.pdf


Great Leighs, Essex: Rudge noted ferruginous conglomerates in the north wall of the round tower of St. Mary’s church (TL738155). Small chunks are actually all round the tower and in the chancel.


Source: E. A.  & E. L. Rudge: ‘The Conglomerate Track’ in ‘Essex Naturalist’ (1952), Vol.29, p.30.


Hadleigh, Essex: A 45cm diameter sarsen boulder is reportedly built into the south wall of St. James the Less church (TQ810870).


Source: http://www.essexfieldclub.org.uk-Hadleigh


Heacham, Norfolk: Dr. Rudge claimed a puddingstone boulder at St. Mary's church (TF681379) to be a part of his 'Puddingstone Track'. He variously described at as being in a buttress of the church, beneath a buttress of the tower, and beneath a buttress of the porch on the south side. Having visited the church, I can say that the last location is correct, there being a large rounded slab of conglomerate (not actually puddingstone) underpinning the west buttress of the porch. It measures 80 x 75 x 18cm high, and is comprised of very small pebbles in a (possibly) carstone matrix.


Source: E. A. Rudge: 'The Lost Trackway: from Grime's Graves to Stonehenge' (ed. John Cooper), 1994, p.22.


Hempnall, Norfolk: At TM255902 three parishes and three ancient Hundreds (Earsham, Depwade and Loddon) meet, at a spot marked on an 1826 map as Baron's Duel Stone. As there is no record or tradition of any duel having taken place there, and as the name may originate from 'doelan', an early English word for 'boundary', it's thought it might refer to a pre-Saxon marker stone. The road at this spot is still called Barondole Lane.



Walter Rye: 'Songs, Stories & Sayings of Norfolk' (Agas. H. Goose, 1897), p.31.

http://www.heritage.norfolk.gov.uk-Duel Stone


High Easter, Essex: In the churchyard at St. Mary's (TL620147) is a mossy limestone boulder 90 x 60 x 40cm, about 20m from the north wall of the church.



Source: GeoEssex Site Spreadsheet (draft)


Hoe, Norfolk: Hoe is a small parish a little north of East Dereham, next to Beetley and Gressenhall. On a grassy triangle outside the former Chapel Mill, near to the boundary with Beetley, stands a glacial erratic (TF978168), about which has grown the local belief that it marks the very centre of Norfolk - but, this tale hasn't been traced further back than the 20th century. As the occupier of the Mill House in the 1890's was an antiquarian collector, it's thought possible that he acquired the boulder after it was dug up locally, and moved it to his land. However, I find that the stone appears on the 1st edition of the Ordnance Survey 6 inch to the mile map, and that was surveyed between 1879 and 1886. It measures 1.55m x 93cm x 48cm high.


Source: http://www.heritage.norfolk.gov.uk/Hoe

Holme-next-the-Sea, Norfolk: A glacial boulder is said to have been uncovered around 1855 during the digging-up of the foundations of the south aisle of the church here, and preserved in the churchyard (TF707435). (Although the source says it was 1855, it was actually 1888). This rock can be found just south of the south wall, and is a sandstone erratic, not all that large, 70cm x 35cm x 20cm high.

Source: W.A.Dutt: 'Ancient Mark-Stones of East Anglia' (1926), p.13.


Holton St. Mary, Suffolk: A glacial boulder 57 x 36cm in size is set into the north-west buttress of the church (TM059367).


Source: http://www.4marys.org.uk/holtonstmary.htm


Holyfield, Essex: At the junction of the B194, a footpath, and an old track leading up to Aimes Green, is a largish puddingstone block (TL387030). Apparently some call it ‘Puck’s Stone’, but that may only be because the old track has long been known as Puck Lane. This was the first boulder that Dr. Rudge found and claimed for his supposed ‘Puddingstone Track’ theory.




E.A. & E.L. Rudge: 'Evidence for a Neolithic Trackway in Essex' in 'The Essex Naturalist' (Vol.28, 1950), p.173.


Ingatestone, Essex: The name of this parish means ‘Inga at the stone’. At the time of Domesday Book, four manors here were simply called Inga, but later needed to be differentiated, the manor containing the church being Latinised in 1254 as ‘Ginges ad Petram’. The existence of a large sandstone boulder in the churchyard of St. Edmund & St. Mary (TQ651996) probably accounts for the ‘petram’ part of the name, although some have previously theorised that it referred to some lost Roman milestone on the long straight Roman road that runs through the village. The churchyard stone was originally found in 1905 under the north-east chancel of the church, during building work.


Two more large sandstone boulders (one, in recent times, hit by a lorry, but re-placed in position) at the entrance to Fryerning Lane nearby, (HERE on Street View) and several more small rocks along the High Street, have led some recently to propose that perhaps all the stones were once part of one larger boulder, or less likely, that they are the remains of a stone circle.







Laindon, Essex: Rudge notes a sarsen stone at the south-west buttress of the former St. Mary's church at Dunton Wayletts (TQ653883).


Source: E. A. Rudge: ‘The Statistical Evidence for a Conglomerate Alignment in Essex’ in ‘Essex Naturalist’ (1952), Vol.29, p.186.


Littlebury, Essex: Right next to the crossroads at Catmere End, a large sarsen over 2m long is embedded into the verge beneath the signpost (TL497388, HERE on Street View).


Source: Gerald Lucy: 'Essex Boulders: A Gazetteer', in 'Essex Naturalist' (New Series, No. 20, 2003), p.129.


Magdalen Laver, Essex: Many people have noted and photographed the puddingstone that was incorporated into the foundations of the north wall of St. Mary Magdelen church (TL513083) before the wooden tower was built.1 But both Rudge2 and Lindsay3 said there are in fact two, and they're right, as can be seen from my pictures.







And no one seems to mention “the largest puddingstone monolith of the Essex section” (of Rudge’s alleged ‘Puddingstone Track’) which he records in a field west of the church (TL511083).4



1. http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=10762

2. E. A. Rudge: ‘The Statistical Evidence for a Conglomerate Alignment in Essex’ in ‘Essex Naturalist’ (1952), Vol.29, p.180.

3. Jack Lindsay: ‘The Discovery of Britain’ (Merlin Press, 1958), p.278.

4. E. A.  & E. L. Rudge: ‘The Conglomerate Track’ in ‘Essex Naturalist’ (1952), Vol.29, p.23.


Marks Tey, Essex: Rudge reported a conglomerate boulder built into the base of the tower's north wall here at St. Andrew's church (TL911238),1 but a more recent investigation failed to find it.2 However, I visited the church in July 2016 and found the stone at the base of the north-west angle of the tower. It's not a 'boulder' though, it's merely a 60 x 25cm ovoid lump of dark brown pebbly ferricrete laid flat into the wall surface; and it's not even the largest of many pieces built into the walls in decorative bands, especially on the south side. The church guide is wrong about this material: it calls it both septaria and mudstone, but the two are different stones, and neither are ferricrete.



1. E. A. Rudge: 'The Lost Trackway: from Grime's Graves to Stonehenge' (ed. John Cooper, 1994), p.14.

2. http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=10756


Martham, Norfolk: From the 1970's church notes of St. Mary the Virgin church at Martham, a few miles north-west of Gt. Yarmouth: "The Domesday Book mentions a church here, built on an ancient pagan site, and a markstone on the trackway leading to it can still be seen opposite the church yard." This 'markstone' can found at TG454183, being a squarish block of sarsen just across the road from the church. It stands at the entrance to a long narrow pathway that runs into Oak Tree Close, between 71 and 73 Black Street, and measures 60 x 50 x 33cm high.



Metfield, Suffolk: A large boulder, 125 x 85 x 85cm high, can be found embedded next to the south-west corner of the tower (TM294803)  in the churchyard of St. John the Baptist. Although described by others as 'puddingstone', it's actually just a sandstone conglomerate erratic, its surface studded with tiny pebbles.



Methwold, Norfolk: Back in 1893, the vicar of Methwold wrote of a triangular space where roads divide for Feltwell and the Hythe, "which has long been known as the Cross Hill", and that there stood what he called "a sacred settlement-stone" placed there by "our British forefathers". He thought this to be an "old sacrificial stone" that had been 'reconsecrated' in Christian times by having a wooden cross-shaft mortised into its upper surface. A simple cross still stands at the centre of this junction, (TL73089467, see here on Street View) but the stone disappeared long ago. However, the vicar's own drawing of this object shows it to have been not some ancient erratic boulder, but a very standard medieval base for a wayside cross, complete with moulded stop-angles.


Source: John Denny Gedge: 'The History of a Village Community in the Eastern Counties' (A. H. Goose, 1893), p.5.

Middleton, Essex: Two sarsen stones can be found in the churchyard (TL870396).

Newton-by-Castle Acre, Norfolk:  According to reports in the 1970s, a large glacial erratic was found built into the foundations of the church here during building work (TM831155), while another was exposed underpinning the north-west corner of the chancel. This latter is still visible, measuring 62cm x 42cm x 18cm high. Another erratic - this one 41cm x 31cm - can be found 1.16m from the ground, in the south wall of the central tower.


North Stifford, Essex: Under the north-west corner of St. Mary's church (TQ604803) is a puddingstone, the only one known in south Essex.


Source: Gerald Lucy: 'Essex Boulders: A Gazetteer', in 'Essex Naturalist' (New Series, No. 20, 2003), p.128.


North Weald Bassett, Essex: About 2m from the ground on the south east side of the chancel, there is a grey glacial erratic 41 x 20cm built into the fabric of St. Andrew's church here (TL495052).


Source: Glyn Morgan: 'Secret Essex' (Ian Henry Publications Ltd, 1982), p.29.


Pakefield, Suffolk: In the modern heating chamber, but embedded solidly under the fragmentary ruins of the old Saxon round tower here at the 14/15th century St. Margaret and All Saints church (TM538905) in Pakefield, is a squarish sarsen stone  about 1.2m x 1m high. In 1934, during excavations to make the heating chamber, it took workmen three days to chisel off a small corner of the stone to admit a furnace, and at the same time they came across human bones, 'far from any known grave'. Some say that it was a 'pagan altar stone'. Even in recent times, some respect seems to have been paid to it, since the entire wall area around has been whitewashed, while the stone has been allowed to keep its original sandy-brown colour.


Source: Rev. B. P. W. Stather Hunt: 'Flinten History' (Lion Press, 1953), p.35.


Pleshey, Essex: The parish boundary runs past the little grassy triangle at the junction of Bury Road and The Street, at TL647143. On that triangle, next to the guidepost, sits a dark grey boulder (of carboniferous limestone) which the Essex Historic Environment Record lists as a boundary marker. It measures 110cm x 94cm x 57cm high. A smaller stone, a sarsen - 82cm x 70cm x 48cm high - sits close to it. However, the HER seems to confuse this larger boulder with something called the ‘Pleshey Stone’,1 or what the Essex Chronicle calls the ‘Richard Stone’.2 Previously on the village green, or set into a wall at Mount House, recent sources2,3 say this is actually a stone from Pleshey Castle, and is now on the wall inside Holy Trinity church. Inscribed ‘Ricardus rex ii’ as a reminder of the royal patronage of the castle, this definitely has nothing to do with the rock at the junction.



1. https://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gateway/Results_Single.aspx?uid=MEX4190&resourceID=1001

2. ‘Essex Chronicle’, Thursday, August 14, 2008

3. https://www.essexarchivesonline.co.uk/Result_Details.aspx?DocID=783812


Snettisham, Norfolk: Rudge recorded a conglomerate block amongst the foundations of the old chancel (demolished in the 17th century) in the churchyard next to St. Mary's, although others have searched and failed to find it. Only one pier now remains of this chancel, and I carefully inspected it in June 2016, also finding nothing. One angle was however completely choked with rubble, so it might still be buried there.


Source: E.A. and E.L. Rudge: 'Evidence for a Neolithic Trackway in Essex' in 'Essex Naturalist' (Vol. 28, 1950, p.179.


South Creake, Norfolk: As at Cawston (above), Bluestone Farm was named after a large boulder once at the corner of a barn, at TF854360. In about 1930 it was moved into the garden, to mark the graves of two dogs.


Source: http://www.heritage.norfolk.gov.uk/record-details?MNF43942


Sproughton, Suffolk: All Saints church has glacial erratic rocks built into the walls near the base of its exterior fabric. These aren't particularly large, so like others in similar positions, it's quite possible that they were just handy building material rather than of any pre-Christian significance.


Source: Barry Cross photos on Flickr


Stalham, Norfolk: Out in the fields at TG378261 the parishes of Stalham, Ingham and Brumstead meet. It's reported that a large stone was struck (and presumably destroyed) by a plough here, and it's possible that this was a boundary marker of unknown age.


Source: http://www.heritage.norfolk.gov.uk-Stalham

Stanford Rivers, Essex: At TL533009 is a sarsen 90cm x 85cm, smooth, rounded, and almost concealed by grass. It is embedded in the verge beside School Road, right by the entrance to St. Margaret's churchyard.

Source: GeoEssex Site Spreadsheet (draft)

Stock, Essex: A dark brown puddingstone can be seen in an angle of the walls outside St. Mary's church (TQ663986) in the almost non-existent hamlet of Buttsbury.

Source: flickr - Buttsbury puddingstone

Swaffham, Norfolk: An irregularly-shaped glacial boulder, 1.1m x 1m x 1m high, can be seen set into the pavement in Lynn Street, across the road from the King's Arms (TF818090). This has possibly been moved from the crossroads leading to the marketplace from the north, where a covered market cross was erected in the 16th century, and removed to make way for the present Butter Cross. The local antiquarian Ben Ripper had the theory that, after the assassination of the Roman usurper Constantine in the 3rd century, the kin of the Swafas (the Swabians, his heathen mercenaries) arrived in the area and began to divide up the land. At Swaffham they placed the boulder - 'Swafa's Stone' - and so gave the town its name. Its past use as a mounting-block has been suggested.

Takeley, Essex: On the grass at the main crossroads in Takeley (TL561212) can be seen a massive sarsen stone 1m x 1m x 40cm high and weighing about a tonne, with a little plaque on it. This was placed here with some ceremony in 2003, after being discovered during an archaeological dig on a car park site at Stansted Airport. The sharp edges suggest human working, but investigation shows these to be natural ‘fracture surfaces’, caused during movement during the Ice Age. The stone was found in a purposefully dug pit next to a round house from the Bronze Age, its position suggesting that it was a meaningful, perhaps sacred, object to the people.


Source: http://tlhs.org.uk/our_artifacts.htm

Threxton, Norfolk: The Thetford antiquary Tom Martin wrote in about 1740 of "An ancient stone at ye runne of water between Threxton and Saham Toney. Query what it is?" There is a possibility that this might have been a Roman milestone, as it was quite probably within a known Romano-British settlement on the line of the Peddar's Way.

Tilty, Essex: The church of St. Mary used to be the chapel of Tilty Abbey, and in the churchyard is a small, pudding-coloured, nicely rounded puddingstone, plus a slightly smaller sarsen.


Source: http://www.megalithic.co.uk/tilty


Twinstead, Essex: A largish sarsen stone can be seen just outside the south-eastern corner of the churchyard wall here, at the junction of Church Road and a footpath (TL861366, HERE on Street View, between the 30mph sign and the footpath sign). This was found under the church when it was rebuilt in the 1820s, and recorded by Rudge in 1952, although his map reference is incorrect. A smaller lump of sarsen is visible on the other side of the path.


Source: E. A. Rudge: ‘The Statistical Evidence for a Conglomerate Alignment in Essex’ in ‘Essex Naturalist’ (1952), Vol.29, p.186.


Washbrook, Suffolk: A huge sarsen stone is to be seen beneath St. Mary's church tower here, at TM109426.1 The visible part measures 1.18m x 18cm, and can be found at the base of the east face of the tower.


Source: 1. Allan Jobson: 'Suffolk Villages' (Robert Hale, 1971), p.89.


When I visited, I found two more glacial rocks in the fabric 1.84m above the previous one, the largest measuring 56cm x 29cm. There are smaller bits built into various other walls also.


Wellingham, Norfolk: There is a large sandstone boulder just outside the porch at St. Andrew's church (TF871222), measuring 52cm x 40cm x 40cm high.


Source: John Timpson: 'Timpson's Leylines' (Cassell & Co, 2000), pp. 7, 14.


West Horndon, Essex: Rudge records both a sarsen and a puddingstone by the porch of the now-redundant church of All Saints, in East Horndon (TQ635895).


Source: E. A. Rudge: ‘The Statistical Evidence for a Conglomerate Alignment in Essex’ in ‘Essex Naturalist’ (1952), Vol.29, p.186.


Wherstead, Suffolk: Two substantial sarsen stones underpin the south-west buttress of St. Mary's church here.


Source: Barry Cross photos on Flickr


Wicken Bonhunt, Essex: The (possibly) pre-Conquest chapel of St. Helen here (TL511334) has a small puddingstone used in the fabric, but the significant feature is the large sarsen underpinning one corner of it.


Source: http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=12440


Wickham St. Paul, Essex: At the grassy triangle enclosed by three roads (TL816367) where the Seven Sisters trees used to stand, author Jack Lindsay was told there was a ‘big stone’; but he couldn’t find it, and a man who lived nearby didn’t know of it.1 However, this may well be the stone that seems to be embedded in the grass verge at the northern point of the junction, at the entrance to Seven Sisters Cottage. The fact that there is not only a stone at a threeways, but a named group of trees as well, seems to suggest a significance to the positioning.


Sarsen stones used to stand at the north-east and south-east corners of All Saints churchyard (TL827371), but these have apparently been moved to the village hall car park. There are said to be others close by near Wickham Hall. A wide low mound at the centre of the churchyard has been suggested as a possible ancient burial mound.2



1. Jack Lindsay: ‘The Discovery of Britain’, (Merlin Press, 1958), p.205-6.

2. https://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gateway/Results_Single.aspx?uid=MEX30148&resourceID=1001


Witton, Norfolk: In the churchyard, outside the north wall of St. Margaret's church (TG33103157), there is "a large half-buried erratic boulder which perhaps once had some local significance." I visited here in May 2019, and found the boulder - which is claimed in the church guide to be granite - about 2m from the north wall, roughly halfway between the porch and the first buttress. This angular rock measures 103cm x 81cm at its longest points, but only 17cm is visible above ground.


Source: Edwin Rose: 'The Churches' in 'The Archaeology of Witton, near North Walsham' in 'East Anglian Archaeology' Report No.18 (Norfolk Museums Service, 1983), p.98.


Wormingford, Essex: Rudge records a sarsen boulder (1m long) beneath the south-west buttress of St. Andrew’s church (TL932322).


Source: E. A. Rudge: ‘The Statistical Evidence for a Conglomerate Alignment in Essex’ in ‘Essex Naturalist’ (1952-6), Vol.29, p.185.

Wortham, Suffolk: The jagged length of blackish granite 1.1m x 45cm x 45cm high in the churchyard is commonly called Wortham's Sacred Stone. W. A. Dutt said in 1926 that it had been removed to inside the church, but in the 1970's I found it to be still in its earlier position, just south-west of the massive round tower (TM084788). The rector at the time could give me no further information. In August 2016 I visited again, and this time found it mentioned in the church guide - but the author thinks the idea that it was a 'pagan' stone that determined the siting of the church is rather 'fanciful'. In my youth, I thought it might have been the broken shaft of a medieval cross, but I now find that highly unlikely.

Source: W.A.Dutt: 'Ancient Mark-Stones of East Anglia' (1926), p.13.