Field Investigations

  • The Rollright Stones

    Oxfordshire, England

    The stones date from 3800-1500 BC and are made from local Cotswold limestone. The area directly around the stones has been a focus for ceremonies and burials, and farming which continues today. Their history is well documented and mention can be found in the Doomsday book (AD 1086) when it was valued at £5, being held under the Bishopric of Lincoln.

    There are three groups of stones; The King Stone, The King's Men circle and The Whispering Knights. The oddly shaped King Stone is said to have evolved because of shepherds chipping off pieces to keep the Devil away. Its name may possibly relate to its use as a marker for a Saxon cemetery. The ceremonial King's Men circle has an indeterminate number of stones that may have once formed a solid ring but over milennia stones have been taken for local building projects leaving large gaps. The earliest stones, The Whispering Knights was an intimidating burial chamber before stones were removed, human bones from the site have been dated to c. 1700 BC.

    The Stones take their name from a legend. A king leading his army over the Cotswolds was confronted by a local witch, "Seven long strides shalt thou take and if Long Compton thou canst see, King of England thou shalt be". As the king took his seventh stride up the hill, he saw the village and became king of England, unfortunately he turned into The King Stone and his army became The King's Men circle. The witch was said to have become an elder tree which still exists in the hedge; should its boughs be cut, the stones will come back to life.

    Rachel: all outdoor recordings at historic sites are challenging, not just due to wind noise but to traffic and visitors. Thankfully I arrived at a quiet point of the day and had the circle and stones to myself, the weather was calm and the nearby traffic, relatively quiet. Despite the peace, there is a high level of background noise on the recordings and because of this, they are best listened to using headphones.

    EVP 1: Might this first EVP be in reference to the opening of a ritualistic ceremony, it would certainly be fitting. Handfasting ceremonies still take place in the circle today.

    EVP 1: the dark is what you open

    EVP 2: Standing in the middle of the witches, I called forth those present and captured the following response, it suggests that the speaker anticipated my visit, if interpreted correctly. It's a great shame that I don't know who it was that spoke but I will remember her on my next visit and hope to hear from her again.

    EVP 2: we waited

    EVP 3: The voice on this clip isn't very easy to hear, even with headphones but I feel it important because it correlates well with my expressing that I had unseen company with me on the path.

    EVP 3: we're near you

    EVP 4: Again this clip isn't easy to hear but if it has been interpreted correctly it's very interesting. There are two male voices, one making an observation on my equipment, whilst the other makes a very cryptic comment. Might he be alluding to a method of communication for those who speak to us?

    EVP 4: I'm seeing no recorder - where's the time key

    EVP 5: As I turned and began my journey back to the car, a clear male voice is captured on the path. I certainly did not feel alone on my visit and look forward to returning to the stones soon.

    EVP 5: girl i will pass you

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