Sunday 21 August 2011

Stonehenge by Frank Stevens

The Lithology of Stonehenge

The geologist would probably describe the Sarsen stones of Wiltshire as "masses of saccharoid sandstone," which in plain English might be rendered as boulders closely resembling gigantic lumps of coarse sugar. These huge stones are to be found, though in decreasing numbers, scattered all over the plain, and particularly along the ridges of the Marlborough Downs. The country folk, always picturesquely minded, call them "Grey Wethers," and indeed in North Wilts, it is not hard to conjure up their poetic resemblance to a flock of titanic sheep, reclining at ease upon the pasturage of the Downs. The alternative name Sarsen, has an interesting derivation. It is a corruption of the word "Saracen." But what have Saracens to do with Wiltshire? Frankly nothing. The name has come to the stones from Stonehenge itself, and is a part of that ever interesting confusion of ideas, which has been bequeathed to us by our ancestors of the Middle Ages. To them all stone circles and megalithic monuments were the work of heathens, if not of the devil himself. Heathenism and all its works was roundly condemned, whether it be Celtic, Mahomedan, or Pagan; and the condemnation was as concise and universal as the phrase "Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Heretics" of the Christian Prayer Book to-day. In the early days of the _Moyen Age_, the Saracen stood for all that was antagonistic to Christianity. Consequently the stones of Stonehenge were Saracen or heathen stones, which the Wiltshire tongue has shortened in due time to Sarsen.

This confusion of ideas may seem amusing, but it is not more absurd than the existing popular idea that Stonehenge is of Druidical origin. The stone circle of Salisbury Plain was many hundred years old when those half mythical Celtic priests first set foot in England, and the Druids of yesterday have about as much connection with Stonehenge as the Salvation Army of to-day.

The Sarsen well repays a close examination. A glance at one of these stones as it lies on the Downland, shows that it has suffered greatly from the weather. It is the core, or kernel, of a much larger block of friable sandstone, worn away on all sides by wind and weather. Moreover, these isolated blocks appear on the Downs in a country devoid of any rock save chalk.

How came they in their present position? In one sense they never came at all; for they existed on the surface of the chalk from the time it rose from the bottom of the sea to its present position. They are, in fact, the remains of a great sheet of fine sand and gravel cemented together by silex, which formerly overlay the chalk downs, the other parts of which have been dissolved and worn by wind and rain until only the harder cores or kernels survive to tell the tale. And the proof of this is not far to seek. The chalk of the London Basin is still capped by layers of such sandstone, as may be seen at Purfleet in Essex. The titanic sheep, or Grey Wethers, therefore, are merely a small residue of that widespread sandy deposit which once covered the whole of the south of England with its inhospitable sheet, and of which larger patches remain to-day in Surrey, Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight. But though the hand of Time and the buffets of the weather have been heavy on the Sarsens, the hand of man has likewise borne its share. In a district like the Plain, devoid of building material other than flint, these stones have attracted the unwelcome attention of the farmers. Walls, gateposts, and paving-stones have accounted for many, while in the interest of the road-mender many a noble Grey Wether has been led to slaughter to provide macadam for the roads. Hence it is not surprising that the number of Sarsen stones to be found on the Plain where Nature placed them is becoming less and less. Indeed, the time may yet come when they will be as extinct as the Great Bustard who once strutted among them, and their memory will survive only in their accidental use in a prehistoric monument like Stonehenge.

Tuesday 9 August 2011

Sarsens in Kent


Great Tottington - is a moated manor farm near Maidstone in the English county of Kent.

Upper Kennet News Landscape - The Stone Masons

Upper Kennet News Landscape - The Stone Masons: "In the mid 19th century stonemasons working in the High Wycombe area heard of the plentiful supply of sarsens in our valleys, and moved to Fyfield. Unlike the stones near High Wycombe, which had to be dug up from the clay, ours lay conveniently on the surface. From then until the 1930s sarsen became an industrial product. Its hardness made it ideal for kerbstones and tramsetts and huge quantities were bought by Swindon Corporation for the expanding town. One mason, employing six men, produced over 300 tons of cut blocks in a year. Their work was hard and their lives were short but their skill produced standardised blocks fine enough for West Overton Church (c 1850) and Marlborough College Chapel (1886). In 1939 one of the last orders was for four waggonloads of sarsen blocks to repair the walls of Windsor Castle; the original stone had come from High Wycombe."

Wherever the masons worked, the stones they rejected lie about where they were left, marked with indentations made by the pecker and cracked where chisels were inserted. The site at Totterdown above The Delling was the last to be quarried, from 1925 to 1939. It looks as though
the workmen had only just downed tools. It is the only place left where you could still go upon the stones all the way.

Each of our sarsen valleys has a different landscape quality. Lockeridge Dene is a favourite walk - our parish in miniature with a little of everything, valley, old grassland, and woodland trees. It may have supplied the Stonehenge sarsens. Piggledene is less accessible; a place to be alone in. Both are more enclosed than the Valley of Stones which has a remote, timeless quality. In Hursley Bottom the sarsens were blown up with explosives in the 1920s and crushed for road building. The craters remain and so does the concrete base of the stone crusher. A few survivors lie scattered among the trees along the ancient floodpath towards Clatford Bottom.

Source: N. E. King. The Kennet Valley Sarsen Industry. Wiltshire Archeology and Natural History Magazine
vol 65. 1970.

Sunday 7 August 2011

Wiltshire Geology Group

Wiltshire Geology Group: "Scattered over the Marlborough Downs and Kennet valley, where the Tertiary sediments originally covering the Chalk have been eroded away, are areas of sarsen stones. These lumps of hard sandstone lying at or just below the surface are silcretes, the result of localised patchy cementation of Tertiary sands. The ubiquitous presence of fossil root holes in the sarsens, indicates that this cementation occurred at the same time that the plants were growing, near the ground surface. If the sands were situated around the level of the top of the water-table, in the warm climate prevailing during the Tertiary period water would be drawn up through the sands by capillary action as evaporation occurred at the surface; this would concentrate dissolved silica in the ground water to the point where locally it crystallised out, cementing the sand grains together. Subsequent erosion of the uncemented bulk of the Tertiary beds left these hardened patches behind to form the sarsens or greywethers, which litter the landscape in these parts of the county. Many have been broken up and removed over the centuries as a convenient source of building materials, from the Stone Age onwards, but some patches remain and now have conservation protection."

Sarsen Stones and Erratics of the Wessex Coast; Geology of the Wessex Coast Field Guides

Sarsen Stones and Erratics of the Wessex Coast; Geology of the Wessex Coast Field Guides: "Sarsen stones are blocks of quartzite, often found above the Chalk, and most famous for their use at the major stones of Stonehenge (in addition to the Bluestones - dolerite). This webpage is concerned with those on the Wessex coast and adjacent area, with some inland examples also included.

Sarsens are very abundant in the Solent area, particularly from the coast at Chilling, near Fareham, southeast to Selsey Bill. They are particularly features of the low-level Pleistocene gravel terraces and the low-level raised beach of the Selsey peninsula. The Solent type of sarsens are not very large, often about a metre in length and with a thickness of about 60cm. They are usually joint-bounded and often with moulds of tree roots and small roots of shrubs. They mostly consist of medium sand of quartz, cemented by quartz.

The source area for the sarsen stones of the Solent has not been determined. Their common occurrence in southern England above the Chalk indicates a Tertiary origin."

Full text of "Geological magazine" NEW SERIES. DECADE IV. VOL. VIII. No. I.— JANUARY, 1901.

(Apologies for formatting - the article is available for £30 from
III.—History of the Sarsens

This is just my working record.

Full text of "Geological magazine": "THE


No. I.— JANUARY, 1901.

Note on the Structure of Sarsens.

By rrofessor J. W. Judd, C.B., LL.D., F.R.S., V.r.G.S., etc.

[^Introductory Note. — After the publication of my paper on the
Sarsens, or Sarsen Stones, in the Wiltshire Archifiological and
Natural History Society's Magazine, vol. xxiii (188G), pp. 122-154,
many friendly communications gave me further information on the
subject, and additional references to published facts and opinions.
From this correspondence, and my own notes made in the countr}',
I propose to utilize much that seems to be of interest. The most
important of these additions to our knowledge of the Sarsens is the
following memoir on their constitution and structure by my fi-iend
Prof. Dr. J. W. Judd, C.B., F.R.S., etc., of the Royal College of
Science, who most obligingly examined with care the microscopical
structure of manj' specimens from authenticated localities. With
his kind pex'mission this valuable communication (dated March 9th,
1888) is here printed. — T. Eupert Jones.]

THE microscopic examination of a series of thin sections, cut
from the Sarsens, shows that their minute structure varies as
strikingly as does the appearance of their fractured surfaces.
Microscopically, the Sarsens are seen to be made up of two kinds
of materials, clastic fragments of crystalline minerals and a cement
(base or matrix) of a microcrystalline or cryptocrystalline character.
The relative proportion of these two constituents varies very widely
in different cases.

The Sarsens with saccharoid fracture stand at one end of the
series. An admirable example from Camberley, North Surrey, is
seen to be almost wholly made up of sand grains, with very little in
the way of cement visible. Much of the cementing material in this
rock is ferruginous, and the rock is more incoherent than is the case
with most Sarsens.

At the other end of the series stand the Sai'sens exhibiting
a fracture resembling that of some cherts. Under the microscope
the greater part of their mass is seen to be made up of excessively
minute and imperfectly developed quartz, microlites, and these


2 Professor J. W. Judd — Structure of Sarsens.

occasionally exhibit a tendency to the spherulitic arrangement.
A beautiful example of this kind of Sarsen is one from Poxwell
Eing, near Dorchester. In this case the original sand grains seem
to have almost wholly disappeared, and an aggregate of grains of
secondary quartz has been formed, which crystallize out freely
on the sides of cavities. In parts, the section shows admirable
spherulitic structure, and the iron-oxides have separated into small
globular masses. The appearances exhibited, are strikingly like
those of some flints with highly crystalline structure.

All the other sections examined show the detrital crystalline
particles enveloped in more or less of the fine-grained secondary
matrix. The detrital grains consist mainly of quartz. By far the
greater part of these quartz grains exhibit the bands of liquid
cavities so characteristic of the quartz of granites and gneisses ;
corroded quartz grains with glass or stone cavities, evidently derived
from quartz-felsites, occur, but are much less rare, as are also the
polysynthetic grains, some of which may have been derived from
schistose rocks. With the quartz grains are a few unmistakable
particles of flint, but these are never numerous. Felspars and other
minerals are usually rare. Sometimes the grains appear to be well
rounded, and at other times they seem perfectly angular; but it is
probable that in all cases a considerable amount of corrosion of the
surfaces of the grains has taken place. Only in one or two doubtful
cases have I seen what could be taken as a deposition of secondary
silica upon, and in optical continuity with, the detrital quartz.

In a specimen from the valley of the Kennet (Enborne Lodge
gravel-pit) we have perfectly angular quartz grains embedded in
a nearly compact cement — one which can be resolved only under
very high microscopic power.

A very remarkable variety of Sarsen is one from Staple-Fitzpaine,
about 10 miles west of Taunton. In this rock the grains are much
larger than in any other Sarsen that I have examined ; they are
markedly angular, and though quartz grains form a majority of the
whole, yet felspars and other minerals occur much more usually
than in the other specimens examined. If this should be found
to be the rule with Sarsens from the most westerly localities, it
would indicate that the granitic and metamorphic rocks which
yielded the materials of which they are composed lay to the west
of the London Basin.

[In a subsequent letter (February 27th, 1S89) Professor Judd
states that this " specimen from Staple-Fitzpaine has a fragment of
whitened flint in it. The microscopic characters of which are
unmistakably those of a silicified Chalk-mud full of fragments of

The cement of the flint-conglomerate of Hertfordshire consists of
quartz grains, with a few grains of flint, embedded in a crypto-
crystalline siliceous groundmass. There is no very striking
resemblance between the cement of this conglomerate and that of
any of the Sarsens which I have examined.
III. — History of the Sarsens.

By Professor T. Rupert Jones, F.R.S., F.G.S., etc.

Additional Notes. — These further references and fuller quotations
are here given with the view of making the History of the Sarsens,
or Sarsen Stones, more complete and more easily available,
especially by indicating the chronological succession of observed-
facts and published opinions.

§ 1. Origin and Constitution of the Stones called ' Sarsens.'

§ 2. Fossils in Sarsens.

I 3. Localities. I. In the Counties north of the Thames : (1) Northamptonshirep.
(2) Suffolk, (3) Essex, (4) Hertfordshire, (5) Buckinghamshire, (6) Oxford-
shire, (7) Middlesex. II. In the Counties south of the Thames : (8) Kent,
(9) Surrey, (10) Hampshire, (U) Berkshire, (12) Wiltshire, (13) Dorset.
(14) Somerset, (15) Devon.

§ 4. Bibliographic List.

§ 1. Origin and Constitution of Saksens.

(See also Part i in Wilts Mag., 1886, p. 126.)

1819. G. B. Greenough, in his " Critical Examination of the
First Principles of Geology," p. 112, says that the Grey weather
Stones (' Grey wether sandstone,' etc., p. 293), scattered over the
southern counties of England, have been evidently derived frona
the destruction of a rock which once lay over the Chalk.

1871. In the Transactions of the Newbury District Field Club,
vol. i, p. 99, Sarsens are referred to as "indurated blocks of sand-
stones and conglomerates."

1882 and 1885. Sir Archibald Geikie, treating of siliceous
cements in sandstones, writes, "where the component particles are

^ Packard, " Carboniferous Xiphosurous Fauna of JYorth America": Mem. Nat..
Acad. Sci. Washington, vol. iii (1886), p. 150.


Professor T. Rupert Jones — History of Sarsens. 55

bound together by a flinty substance, as in the exposed blocks o{
Eocene sandstone known as ' Grey-weathers ' in Wiltshire, and
which occurs also [Landenian, sandstone] over the north of Franca
towards the Ardennes" ('-Textbook," 2nd ed., 1885, p. 162).

In a letter, Sir Archibald has obligingly stated that the first and
best account on which the reference to the above was b ised is by
Dr. C. Barrois, Ann. Soc. Geol. du Nord, vol. vi (1878-9), p. 8GG.
See also his short paper in the Assoc. Fran^aise, 1879, p. 6G6,
Gosselet quotes Barrois in his gi'eat work " L'Ardenne," 1888, p. 829.
Further references are also given by these two authors.

188o. The Rev. A. Irving, taking it for granted that a large river
in Eocene times flowed from a region of Palceozoic rocks in the west,
in the direction of the Thames Valley to the east, said that the detritus
would be quartzose and feli^pathic ; the felspars would ultimately be
decomposed by the agency of carbonic acid, and gehitinous liyilnted
silica would be produced. (Proc. Geol. Assoc, vol. viii, pp. 150, 157.)

1887. The Rev. A. Irving, in a letter dated March 6th, LS87,
writes : — " You have overlooked one point which I have tried to bring
out in some relief — the fact that the surface acquires a poicelhiuous
texture, not duo to cementation by iron (for from the sup^rtioial
layer tlie iron is entirely leached out), but to an actual change of the
material by a solution-process. I suggesteil (three or four years
ago) C 0^ as the chief assent ; but later work has shown me that the
organic acids contained in pea It/ water have played a far more
potent part in this sub-metamorphic change."

1888. In the Geological Magazine, Dec. Ill, Vol. V,
Dr. T. G. Bonney states that the Sarsens of the Tertiaries are of
concretionary origin : " In the Sarsen Stones, and with matrix of
the Hertfordshire Pud<1ingstones, tliei e is chalcedonic silica converting
sandstone into quartzite" (pp. 298-300).

1888. J. Prestwich: "Geology," etc., vol. ix, p. 342. "These
sands [of the Woolwich and Reading Series] also occasionally
contain concreted blocks in irregular local beds of sandstone,
sometimes with very liard siliceous cement." Footnote at p 342 :
" Mr. Whitaker and Prof. Rupert Jones think that in Berkshire and
Wiltshire they [the Sarsens] are more frequently derived fiom the
Bagshot Sands." The ' Puildingstone ' of Bucks and Herts is here
referred to the Reading Bethat Sarsens occur in the Bagshot Sands of Frimle}' and Chobham.

N.B. — Concretionary action has produced in many Sarsens
mammillations on a large scale, which show on some surfaces
irregular, coalescent, smooth swellings, with shallow, valley-liUo
slofjcs and depressions, like those on the so-called ' bowel-stones '
of the Lower Greensand near Aylesbury. H. B. Woodward's
"Geology of England and Wales," 2nd ed. (1887), p. 377. Such
mammillated Sarsens occur in Suffolk, Wiltshire, and elsewhere.

N.B. — The convexity of the lower face of a Sarsen l}'ing in its
original sand-bed is due to the concretionary formation of tiie stone.

1901. J. W. Judd's "Note on the Structure of Sarsens"
(Gkol. Mag., January, 1901, pp. 1, 2) gives definite descriptions

SS Professor T. Rupert Jones — History of Sarsens.

bf the intimate constitution of many Sarsens from authenticated

N.B. — Besides the Tei'tiary sandstones, other and older white
sandstones have yielded large and small blocks, now on the surface
or in superficial deposits ; for instance, Upper and Lower Greensand,
Ijiassic sands, Millstone Grit, etc.

§ 2. Fossils.
(Refer also to pp. 142-147 of Part i in Wilts Mag., 1886.)
1871. Professor John Phillips, in his " Geology of Oxford," 1871,
p. 447, states : — " I have never found shells in any of these stones
lying in their native beds, and have some scruple in mentioning that
they do occur in a layer in one of the blocks at Stonehenge. But,
as 1 did not choose by chiselling that monumental stone to attract
attention to it, probably it may for many years to come escape all
injury except that which it must suffer from the strokes of time."

1878. In the churchyard of Sandhurst, a large Sarsen perforated
with pipe-like holes lies at the foot of the old yew-tree there.
(T. E. J., Trans. Newbury Distr. F. Club, vol. ii, p. 249.)

1887. C. 0. King suggested that in the Avebury district the
Sarsens were more particularly perforated by rootlets, and that, if so,
the shoals or sandbanks formerly bearing the trees were better
conditioned for the vegetation than other parts of the formation.

1888. J. Prestwich : " Geology," etc., vol. ii, p. 344. The
indications in the Sarsens of the former presence of rootlets, possibly
of Palms, are here mentioned.

1888. The same kind of fossil tubular marks in Sarsens may be
seen in some blocks on the side of the Newbury-Hermitage road, or
Long Lane, west of Coldash Common.

1897. Eootlet-holes, mostly vertical, occur in a Sarsen in a brick-
field near Watford, Herts. — C. D. Sherborn.

N.B. — The perforations due to rootlets have been widened on the
exposed surfaces of the stones by water-action and blown sand, so as
to leave the surface variously pit-marked. — T. R. J.

N.B. — Analogous pipe-like i-emains of rootlets occur as long,
small, vertical holes, in the Hastings sand-rock, East Cliff, Hastings
{Geologist, vol. v, 1862, pp. 135, 136, fig. 9; and Geol. Mag.,
1875, p. 589) ; in the Triassic (?) Sandstone of South Sweden ; and
in some of the estuarine, Jurassic shales of Yorkshire, near Whitby
(A. C. Seward) and near Scarborough. — T. E. J.

§ 3. Localities.

L (1) Northamptonshire. — 1896. Mr. Edwin Sloper observed in
a pit at the Northampton Brickworks at Blisworth a Sarsen that
had evidently fallen from the base of the Drift overlying the Lias
claj' there. This Sarsen was to be cared for by being placed in the
gardens of the Hotel at Blisworth. It consists of a white sandstone
with siliceous cement, and with filamentous cavities, which are
faintly stained with limonite.

(2) Suffolk. — 1889. Sarsens are abundant in the neighbourhood
of Nayland, at corners of cross-roads and elsewhere. Fine-grained


Professor T. Rupert Jones — Hidory of Sarsens. 57

•saccharoldal, ami stained. Many with large and small tubular holes,
some of which are split open and form furrows on the surfaces, often
due to old natural splitting.

1889. Hartest Green, Suffolk. A large brownish Sarsen (5 ft. 8 ins.
X 5 ft. 2 ins. X 3 ft. 6 ins.), much rounded (almost like a boulder),
fine-grained and whitish inside, where wounded bj' blows of stones.
Much pitted naturally on the outside. Flattened at the top, and
worn smooth by boys' play. It was taken years ago out of a field
now occupied by Mr. Griggs, and recpiired eight horses to drag it.
It is stated in a letter from a resident there that " it measures 12 feet
round (probably touching the ground for 6 feet of its length), and
about 4 feet across, weighing 5 of 6 tons." It is not alluded to
as a boulder by the Committee on Boulders, etc. (British Association).

1889. At Newton Green there is a large Sarsen stone (4| X
•3x2 feet) by the side of the pond next to the " Saracen's Head "
Inn, which shows on one side a ' bowelly ' surface, and the other
«ides split flat.

1889. One stone (3 feet long) with bowelly surface, and with
tubules, is at Frost Farm, Stoke, near Nayland. Near Nayland, at
the corner of cross-road from Bures to Colchester, there is a Sarsen
7ft. Gin. long, roughly oval in outline. By the side of the high
road near the Popsey bridge, a little east of tlie Anchor bi'idge. Nay-
land, a Sarsen standing on the bank (3 X 1^ feet) shows a natural
surface with a large hole, also a boldly mammillated surface
(bowelly). Its upper end and sides are split flat; lower end buried.

1889. In a letter dated Ipswich, September 12th, 1889, the late
Dr. J. E.Taylor obligingly informed me, with regard to some Sarsen
stones found at Ipswich, that " the Reading stone-bed specimen [not
a Sarsen] is highly calcareous, but I have found no traces of
Foraminit'era in it. The mammillated stone is purely siliceous. . .
.. . The siliceous stones are abundant hereabouts ; the others not
so. I got them both [the stones referred to] during the excavation
of the deep sewers in one of tlie streets of this town."

(3) Ussex.—lSdQ. T. V. Holmes : Proc. Geol. Assoc, vol. xiv,
p. 190. A large Sarsen is here mentioned that has been removed
from the Glacial Gravel at Writtle Wick, near Chelmsford. A note
on the possible origin of the word Sarsen is also given.

1896. A. E. Salter: Proc. Geol. Assoc, vol. xiv, p. 394. In the
Epping Forest gravel A. E. Salter noticed " Sandstones and Sarsens,
both large, various, and plentiful. At Epping Forest I saw three,
measuring 9 in. by 5 in., 12 in. by 6 in., and 20 in, by 5 in.
respectively." In the high - level Glacial Gravel at Witherthorn,
four miles east of Ongar, "large Sarsens (2 ft. by 1^ ft.) " (p. 395),
At Woodton, in the Yare Valley, "a block of Hertfordshire Pudding-
•stone was found " (p. 399),

(4) Hertfordshire. — 18d7 and 1899. The Eev. Alex. Irving
describes both Sarsens and Herts Pmldingstones as common in the
^tort Valley (Herts and Essex). He refers both to the Bagshot
Series, the latter particularly to the Pebhle-beds ; and he states that
both rocks are agglutinated by the same kind of siliceous cement

58 Professor T. Rupert Jones — History of Sarscns.

(Proc. Geol. Assoc, vol. xv, pp. 196 and 236). He duly mentions
that Mr. Whitaker regards the Hertfordshire Pudding-stone of the
neighbourhood under notice as having, in part at least, been con-
solidated pebble-beds of the Woolwich and Reading Series, like
those at Addington, near Croydon. See also Mr. Whitaker's Address-
to the Herts Nat. Hist. Soc., Proc., vol. x, pt. 4 (September, 1899),
p. 116.

(5) BucTcinghamsJiire. — 1890. A row of coarse, gravelly Sarsens
lies along the side of the road up to the church at Badenham. They
were placed there by the Eector, who said that such stone underlies
the Rectory house and lawn cl()s>e by ; and some blocks of it were
still lying about there. In the cliurch tower, up along the re-entrant
angles of the buttresses and tower, numerous ordinary fine-grained
Sarsens are built in with the flint-work. Professor Prestwich said,
June 21st, 1890, that the coarse-grained Sarsens at Bradenham cam©
from the base of the Tertiaries.

In Buckinghamshire Sarsens are known as 'Wycombe stones,' and
in the Bagshot district as ' Heath stones.'

(6) Oxfordshire. — 1871. Professor J. Phillips regarded the
Sarsen stones as concretionary portions of extensive sand-beds once
overlying the district with its previously excavated Chalk valleys.
The loose sands were carried away by denudation, and the solid
portions suffered displacement. Some containing flint pebbles and'
fragments lie on the north side of the Wiltshire downs. Some larg&
Sarsens are found in the Drift, for instance at Long Wittenham,
near Abingdon. See his " Geology of Oxford and the Valley of the
Thames," 1871, pp. 447 and 462.

(7) Middlesex. — 1891. Horace B. Woodward, in the Geol. Mag.^
Dec. Ill, Vol. VIII, pp. 119-121, succinctly described a very large
Grey wether, of irregularly quadrangular form, that was found
lying in the London Clay, at the bottom of the Thames
Valley Gravel, at Moscow Road, Bayswater, in enlarging the
cellarage of the '* King's Head." It was 9 ft. 6 ins. long, and at
least 2 ft, 8 ins. thick. Mr. H. B. Woodward remarks that Sarsen*
have been found in many places at the same horizon in the base
of the Thames Valley Gravel — at the Law Courts in the Strand,.
and near Kew Bridge ; at Ealing in the Brent Valley ; at II ford, and
at Grays ; but not usually of large size nor common. He notes
also that Sarsens and Hertfordshire Puddingstone occur in the
Brickearth in Buckinghamshire, derived in Glacial times from the
wreck of Woolwich Beds and Bagshot Sands. The Thames Valley
got its gravel mainly from the Glacial Drift. The Bayswater Sarseu
is six miles distant from nearest known Glacial Drift ; and, he says,.
*' it is quite possible that this particular block may have been
derived directly from an outlier of Bagshot Sands, or it may hav©
been left as a relic of Preglacial denudation near the spot where it
has now been found."

1895. At the Grove, Stanmore (the residence of Mrs. Brightwen),.
large Sarsens have been collected from the neighbourhood and made
into a grotto. Que slab measures about 6 X 3 X 2 feet; another^

Miss M. S. Johnston — Geological Notes on Central France. 59>

about 6x6x2 feet. The surfaces of these two large slabs bave
been deeply scored by ruiiuing water, and pierced in all directions
by rootlet and other holes. — C. D. S. -•

1896. In the Proc. Geol. Assoc, vol. xiv, p. 158, Mr. Alien
Brown states that " a large tabular water- worn Sarsen, and a portion
of it broken off in Quaternary times," were found in the gravel at
Hanwell ; and that another Sarsen occurred at the base of the
gravel at the back of Hanwell Station.

1900. In " The Pits," old gravel workings, an allotment, now-
wooded, belonging to William Sherborn, Esq., and formerly part of
Bedford Common, Middlesex, there is a large Sarsen, measuring
about 5x5x2 feet, from one end of which a block about a foot
thick was removed. — C. D. S.

1900. In front of the roadside inn (the " GrifEn ") at Totteridga
or Whetstone, near Highgate, stands a short thick Sarsen, abuut
25 inches high above ground, and 20 inches broad at top and
18 inches below. It is locally said to be as large again below th©
surface ; and to have been used as a ' whetstone ' for their weapons
by the soldiers going to the Battle of Barnet (1471). — A. 0. Brown.

1900. Horace B. Woodward describes a Greywether from the
Gravel of South Kensington, in the Geol. Mag., December, 1900^
p. 543 (with figure). It measures 3 ft. 10 ins. X 3 ft. 3 ins. X 2 ft.,
and is in many respects analogous to the specimen from Bayswater
described above. A smaller one has just been found on the same
spot (January 23, 1901).

Professor T. Rupert Jones — Hidory of Sarsens. 115

V. — History op the Sarsens.

By Professor T. Rupert Jones, F.R.S., F.G.S., etc.

{f!o)icli(dedfromp. 59.)

II. (8) iTeni.— 1862. Mr. W. H. Bensted, in the Geologist, vol. v
(1862), pp. 449, 450, states : " The Druid Sandstone, of which
Kit's Coty House, Stonehenge, and many other Druidical remains are
composed, is found scattered in great blocks over the surface of the
Chalk Hills, or buried superficially in beds of clay retained in the
hollows on the summits of the escarpments." These stones, he
added, are the same as the Grey wethers of Berks and Wilts ; and
are occasionally pebbly, like the Hertfordshire Puddingstones.

1872. In Fergusson's "Eude Stone Monuments," 1872, pp. 116-
120, some of the best specimens of Sarsens that remain as relics
of prehistoric monuments in Kent are noticed, especially those near
Aylesford, on the Medway.

1894. Thomas Wright, in his "Wanderings of an Antiquary,
chiefly in the track of the Romans in Britain," 1894, pp. 17(5-178,
describes in detail some large circular pits that have been filled
with flints and capped with broad Sarsens, on Aylesford Common ;
these, he thought, were probably sepulchral, and may have had
a chamber opening out of the side at the bottom.

1900. Some small Sarsens from the gravel of the Darent at
Shoreham, in Kent, show many perforations of rootlets. — E.. A. B.

(9) Surrey.— 1'&14:. T. Webster: Trans. Geol. Soc, vol. ii,
pp. 224, 225. At Pirbright, Surrey, loose blocks of stone similar to
what have been called Grey wethers. Many loose masses of this rock
lie scattered on the surface of the Chalk country, particularly in
Berkshire and Wiltshire. Stonehenge chiefly composed of it, and
found on the spot. No doubt close resemblance to the siliceous
cement of the Hertfordshire Puddingstone.

1847. J. Prestwich. The position of the Sarsen Stones in the
Bagshot Sands : Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc, vol. iii, p. 382. In the
Lower Bagshot Sands, " a few concretionary masses of saccharine
sandstone, which are more compact and harder than those in the
Upper Sands," and by no iiieans so abundant. " Sandstone
concretions at o " in the diagram, fig. 3, of Frimley Kidge, in the
UiDper Sands, at p. 382.

1876. The Sarsens in the artificially picturesque rockery of the
waterfall at the east end of Virginia Water are said to have been
brought from the neighbouring heath ; and those of the adjoining
cavern or grotto from a cromlech there. Murray's " Handbook of
Surrey," 2nd ed., p. 137.

1895. A Sarsen-stone footbridge over a streamlet at Frimley
Green, Surrey, carries the footpath from the fields on one side of the
stream that runs down a lane, to the path along the other side of
the little stream, which runs beside the lane from Frimley Green,
and across some fields to the border of Surrey and Hants near the
Farnborough Station. The length of the l)ridge-stone is 4^^ or
5 feet; the width is about 21 feet equally all along; thickness

116 Professor T. Ruperf Jones — History of Sarsens.

varies from 6 to 9 inches. The stones supporting the bridge and
bank are laid regularly ; they are all Sarsens, and others lie about
irregularly. One lies near the fence just beyond the path on the
further side of the bridge. — C. T. E. Jones.

1898. H. W. Monckton, Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc, vol. liv,
pp. 185-193, treating of some gravels in the Bagshot district, notes
that Sarsens occur at the base of these gravels, which are of the
Glacial Period, and were probably of fluviatile origin. Sarsens
with rootlet marks occur at Easthampstead. He doubts if any
Sarsens occur in the Upper Bagshots, and supposes that probably
most were derived from the Woolwich and Eeading Sands. All the
Sarsens must have been water- worn, or weather-worn before thej"^
were left in the gravel.

N.B. — At Camberley, in North Surrey, a Sarsen having a partial
polish on one of its sides was noticed, and the polish is ascribed to
the contact and rubbing of the dried stems of grasses and other
plants (with siliceous tissue) moved by the wind. — T, E. J,

In Buckinghamshire Mr. Upfield Green, F.G.S., has observed both
pebbles and prominences on pudding stones, smoothed and' polished,
on the sides of water holes, in the Brickearth near Great Missenden.

1900. Sarsen at Ballard's Farm, Croydon, a white saccharoidal
sandstone with siliceous cement. Dr. G. J. Hinde has kindly given
me the following notes on this large typical Sarsen near Croydon,
which is visited by geological classes from London. Its dimensions
are: length 4 ft. 10 ins. ; width at one end 2 ft. 9 ins., at the other
2 feet ; thickness at one end 1 ft. 8 ins., at the other 11 inches, and at
another place 14 inches. It lies in a grass field on Ballard's Farm,
on the south side of the bridle-path leading from Ballard's Lodge to
the Addington Hills ; and near to the outcrop of the sand-and-
pebble beds of the Woolwich and Eeading Series, of which indeed
it is probably a concreted portion, like the similar blocks in the
Caterham Valley.

(10) Hampshire.— 18Q2. Captain H. Blundell (Staff College)
noticed a large Sarsen in a ploughed field, about 4 miles from
Winchester and 1 mile from Martyr Westley Eectory. It is 12 feet
long, 10 broad, and 8 deep, " and bears a strong polish on a great
part of one side," glaciated or polished by the friction of siliciferous
stems of wheat. " The other side is hollowed out apparenth^
by water." ^

1898. Mr. A. E. Salter has seen a Sarsen in the gravel at Lee-on-
the-Solent (Stubbington) : Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc, vol. liv, p. 194.

(11) BerTcshire. — 1787. Daines Barrington made some remarks
on the Greywethers in Berkshire {Archoeologia, iii, p. 442).

1813. In W. Mavor's " Eeport on the Agriculture of Berkshire,"
1813, at pp. 34, 35. The Sarsen Stones, or Greywethers as the
country people call them, are irregularly scattered over the Berk-
shire and Wiltshire Downs. They are pretty numerous in a valley
near Ashdown Park and on the road from thence to Lambourn.

1 See also Lieut. -Col. Nicolls on '* Sarseus," Southampton, 1866: Geol. Mag.,.
Vol. Ill, pp. 296-298, PL XIII.

Professor T. Rupert Jonea — Hkfory of Sarmis. 117

1854. T. Eupert Jones, in a lecture on the Geology of Newbury,
treated of the occurrence of "the great blocks of Druiilstone,
■Grey wethers, or Sarsen-stones as the onhj remaining wreck of the
Lower Tertiaries of this area" ; and further broken up in the gravel
of the vicinity.

1869. J. Adams, in a lecture on the Geology of Newbury
(newspaper, December, 1869), referred to a traditional trace of an
ancient cromlech near Hangmanstone, for people say that there
was a cave made of large stones, but it was pulled to pieces by
the farmer.

1869. The Sarsens of Berkshire now existing as relics of pre-
historic monuments, especially in Wayland Smith's Cave, and the
groups in Ashdown Park, are the subject of a paper by Mr. A. L.
Lewis in the Trans. Internat. Congress of Prehistoric Archseol. at
Norwich, 1869, pp. 37-46. See also Fergusson's '• Rude Stone
Monuments," 1872, pp. 121, etc.

1887. Mr. Walter Money, F.S.A., referring to Sarsen Stones
in letters, notes that a writer in the Gentleman's Magazine for
1760 mentions that two Roman milliaria or milestones were to be
seen near Aldworth ; and this statement is confirmed by Hearne,
Rows Mores, and other authors. " These milliaria are now to be
seen" (says the writer in the Gent. Mag.) "between Streteley
and Alder, one of which lies a mile from Streteley, and by countrj'
people is supposed to be placed by the Giants (as they call them) in
Alder [Aldworth] Church." He refers to the monumental effigies of
the De la Beche family. A few years ago I investigated this subject
for the late Mr. Thompson Watkin, of Liverpool, and found that one
of these milliaria stood, not so many years ago, between Westridge
Farm (two miles from Streatley) and Aldworth, in a bank, and
that it was a large Sarsen Stone ; and another I heard of as being
seen in Kiddington Bottom, one mile west of Streatley. One of
these, I learned, had been broken up for road-metal, and the other
was said to have been taken away by a gentleman at Wallingford
to be placed on his lawn.

Another statement is that many years ago the stone was taken
from its original position by the side of the Roman via from
Westridge to Streatley, and removed to a more convenient spot
about a quarter of a mile distant, where probably it still remains.
This stone, of Kisrantic size, was removed by the occupier of the
farm at Westridge with a team of eight horses.

There is still a very large Sarsen Stone by the side of the Roman
way from Newbury to Streatley, between Ilainpstead Norris and
Aldworth, which was probably used as a milliarium. It is curious
that in Brittany and other places on the Continent, as well as m
England, where prehistoric stone structures are found, that^there
are stories of the imprints of giants' hands or feet, as the Friar's
Heel at Stonehenge ; and there is a story told at Aldworth at
the present day, that one of these milliaria (that in Ki.ldington
Bottom), between Aldworth and Streatley, had been thrown hitlior
by one of the Aldworth giants, and that the print of the giant s

118 Professor T. Rupert Jones — History of Sarsens.

.hand, made when he grasped the stone, may yet be distinctly
seen. This corroborates the writer of the account in the Gent. Mag»
of 1760.

Last year, on going over the Lambourn Downs, I was struck by
seeing a huge Sarsen Stone, evidently roughly squared, about 5 feet
out of the ground, by the side of the road. It has every appearance
of a milestone of the last century ; and on examining its face next
to the road, I found that a flat face or panel had been cut as if to
receive a plate or letters ; but neither Mr. Barnes, who was with
me, nor myself could trace any letters at all. There is little doubt
that this is a Eoman milestone, as this ancient road leads direct to
TJffington Castle and White-horse Hill. This stone is called
' Hangman's Stone,' the same story being told about it as of the
Haugmanstone near Chaddleworth, and about similar stones else-
where in England. The stone (4' 6" long, V wide, and 1' 6" high
at each end) in Hangmanstone Lane is lying down, but the Lambourn
stone is vertical as with ordinary milestones. It is not known as
a boundary stone.

There are a great number of Sarsen Stones in the neighbourhood
of Ashbury, at the western extremity of Berks, on the northern
slope of the Downs, where they enter this county from Wiltshire ;
and it is singular that hamlets in this parish have the names of
Id-stone, Od-stone, and King - stone Winslow, and just beyond is
the parish of Bishop-stone (Wilts). Possibly the boundaries of
these places were indicated by stones, presumably Sarsens, from
their being so abundant at hand.

At Lambourn the boundary wall of the churchyard is built of
Sarsens ; some of them are 5 feet in height. Others are used as
stepping-stones and for margins in the Bourn at Upper Lambourn.

Large Sarsens are still visible close to some old churches, as at
Compton Beauchamp, East Shefford, and Merlstone, a tithing of
Bucklebury ; and they may be remains of material accumulated
for pagan temples, at places now occupied by Christian churches.

" There was, and probably is, a row or avenue of Sarsen Stones
in Whiteknights Park, Eeading, leading to the Wilderness, which
were said to have been supplied by the Kennet Eiver Navigation,
in early times, from the neighbourhood of Hungerford and
Marlborough."— W. M.

1887. J. E. Hedges. There are many Sarsen Stones collected
by Mr. Hedges for grotto-work at Wallingford Castle. Some are
perforated by rootlet marks.

1887. Numei'ous Sarsens, small and of irregular shape (probabl}'
from the gravel in the neighbourhood), are arranged around a flower-
bed at Theale Eailway Station. — T. E. J.

Dr. Silas Palmer noted several large Sarsens observable at Hill
Green, about 1 mile west of Leckhampstead Street, which is 6 miles
nearly north of Winterbourne, 1 mile south-west of Peasemore,
and about 2 miles north-east of Poughley in Welford Wood, and
2 miles north-east of the Hangmanstone in Hangmanstone Lane.
These are cared for by Mr. Harold Peake, of Westbrook House,.


Professor T. Rupert Jones — Bistort/ of Sarsens. 119

Boxford ; and Mr. Walter Money regards tliem as probablj^ remnants
of a chambered Long Room.

1887. In 1887 a buried or subterranean group of large Sarsens
was discovered by Mr. liobert Walker at Middle Hole, a quarter
of a mile north-west of Middle Farm,' about 2 miles north of
Lambourn. Mr. F. J. Bennett (of the Geological Survey) gives the
following description in his letters : —

A large leaning or nearly prostrate stone at the top of the group
of stones had probably once been vertical, but had fallen down.
The stones had been placed in a round pit-like hole, extending at
least 10 feet north and south of the central stone (once upright).

A square excavation, more than 20 feet deep, was made, and some
hundred Sarsens were taken out, weighing from a quarter to six
hundredweight each ; and there were left in the hole some stones of
from 3 to 7 tons weight. In the hole the stones were iu three
irregular piles. The central heap rested on a very large flat stone ;
the others were at the two sides. The intervals were occupied by
a stiff reddish clay with pottery, burnt and broken bones, wood-
ashes, and burnt earth. There is a large flat stone lying in the
valley not far off.

This north and south valley, or rather combe, in which this
accumulation of Sarsens was found, has been cut down by
denudation through the ' Chalk-rock ' and the ' Melbourne Rock,'
both recognizable in the side-slopes, and is floored with ' chalk-

This does not appear to be one of the deep, well-like pits, lined
with stones, tiles, clay, or wood, excavated for the purpose of
marking boundaries in Roman times. It may have been sepulchral ;
for Thomas Wright, in his "Wanderings of an Antiquary, chiefly iu
the track of the Romans in Britain," 1894, pp. 176-178, describes
in detail some large circular pits that have been filled with flints,
and capped with broad Sarsens, on Aylesford Common ; these, he
thought, were probably sepulchral, and may have had a chamber
opening out of the side at the bottom. (See ante, p. 115.)

1892. "A trail of large blocks of sarseustone is prolonged by
Hagbourne village to a line about 100 feet lower, on to the outcrop
of the Upper Greensand. Other slopes along these Downs exhibit
similar trails of sarseustone." (Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc, xlviii,
1892, p. 313.)

At Newbury, Sarsens are frequent in the ' pitched ' crossings of
pavements at openings of yards; some are paved with squared setts.
Worn, subangular, small Sarsens are plentiful in the gravel-pit
south of the town. — T. R. J.

189G. W. Whitaker refers to the Sarsens at Streatley : 1 roc.
Geol. Assoc, vol. xiv, p. 175.

(12) Wiltshire.— 17(^7. Sir Joseph Banks, in his "Journal ot an
Excursion to Eastbury and Bristol, etc., in May and June, 17G<
(reproduced with notes by S. G. Perceval in the rroceedings ot

1 Eeferred to at p. 149 of pt. i. 1SS6.

120 Professor T. Rupert Jones — History of Sarseiis.

the Bristol Naturalists' Society, new series, vol. ix, pt. i, 1898),
refers to the Sarsen Stones as follows : " Observed between Silbury
and Marlborough the Stones called Grey weathers, which in one
particular valley were scattered about in great numbers on the
surface of the ground. The people in that neighbourhood were
breaking great numbers of them, either to mend the roads or build
houses, which gave me an opportunity of examining them and
bringing away some pieces, which I found to be of a very hard
and fine-grained Sand Stone. Whether it is found in beds in any
part of this countrey I will not venture to say, but remember that
some time ago, in seeing General Conway's place near Henley
[Oxfordshire], I saw a large heap of such stones, some of them of an
immense size ; and, on asking where they were got from, was told
that they were found scattered all over that countrey, lying on the
stratum over the Chalk at different depths, and that those I saw had
been got togethei*, at a large expence, for some work to be done in
the General's grounds — I think a bridge."

N.B. — This heap of large Sarsens must not be confused with the
dolmen from Jersey reconstructed by General Conway in his
grounds in the same locality, for the latter was necessarily only
of granitic and such like rocks, native to Jersey. See also " The
Channel Islands," by W. T. Austin & E. G. Latham, 1862;
J. Fergusson's "Rude Stone Monuments," 1872, pp. 51, 52; and
W. C. Lukis in the Trans. Internat. Congress Prehistoric Archasol.
Norwich, 1869, p. 221.

1833. In the Gentlemari's Magazine, vol. ciii, p. 542, is a notice
of a paper read by Dr. G. T. Clark to the Bristol Philosophical
Society, in which he alludes to the " Grey weathers " as being
" scattered over the Chalky Downs of Wiltshire."

1863. W. H. Hudleston, in the Proc. Geol. Assoc, vol. vii, p. 138,
gives a succinct account of the four kinds of stones that constitute
the concentric rings of Stonehenge. The huge Sarsens composing
the outer ring he described as consisting of a compact quartzose
rock, derived from the Tertiary Sands. " These are, in fact, siliceous
doggers or concretionary slabs of enormous size, which have hardened
in situ [in their original beds], and have resisted the atmospheric
agencies of destruction. Several fragments were picked up of this
material, which seemed to bear the marks of roots or something
of the sort. It is by no means improbable, therefore, that the
decomposition of vegetable matter, and consequent formation of
humus, and the various organic acids which arise from its gradual
alteration into carbonic acid, may have had something to do with
the concretionary action. The influence of these organic acids on
silica has been the subject of interesting investigations in America."

1871. Dr. Joseph Stevens, "On the Geology of North Hamp-
shire," mentions the occurrence of a Greywether grindstone at
St. Mary Bourne, Wilts. (Trans. Newbury District Field Club,
vol. i, p. 86.)

1874. C. E. Davy, in a paper contributed to the Newbury
District Field Club, "Letcombe Castle," 1874, p. 23, describes


Professor T. Rupert Jones — Il'n^fory of Sarsen^. Til

a naturally-shaped, angular, pyi-amidal, water-worn fragment of
Sarsen Stone as a prehistoric sacred stone.

1876. A critical account of the lithology of Stonehenge, by
N. Story Maskelyne, was published in the Wilts Archaiol. Nat.
Hist. Soc, Mag., vol. xvii, pp. 149, etc.

1881. With regard to the carrying and raising large blocks of
stone, the late Dr. V. Ball gave details and an illustrative plate of
the method used among the hill-tribes of India. (" Economic Geology
of India," 1881, p. 544, pi. viii ; see also note in Pt. i, 188G, p. 125.)

1887. In a Reading newspaper (July 29, 1887) it was stated
that at Wardour Castle " the picturesque grounds are ornamented
with a pretty grotto and rockery, constructed from a number of
curious-shaped stones, which formed a prehistoric circle at Totbury,"
said to have been at or near Place Farm. This circular work is
recorded as having had a large central stone, 12 feet high and 4 feet
wide. (Britton's Topog. and Hist. Descript. Wilts, 1814 ; and
W. H. Jones, Wilts Mag., vol. vii, 1863.)

1887. The Stones of Stonehenge were the subject of Mr. W.
Whitaker's remarks in the Proc. Geol. Assoc, vol. ix, p. 530.
'• Dividing them roughly into two sets, the natives and the foreigners
{the former, of course, being the bigger), the latter are mostly of
igneous rocks, and must have been brought from a long distance ;
the largest of these, the altar stone, is a sandstone, but unlike any
sandstone of the neighbourhood. The natives are all greywether-
sandstone, or Sarsen stones which have been shown to be derived
from some of the older Tertiary beds, here probably from the
Bagshot Sand, which in these western parts comes nearer to the
Chalk than further east. Their occurrence, therefore, points to
a vast denudation of Tertiary beds, masses of clays and sands, tliat
once spread far and wide over the now bare plateau of Chalk,
having been slowly swept away, leaving behind only those hardened
parts of the sands, that could withstand the denuding agents, as
witnesses of the former extension of the beds."

1890. Treating of some constructions by a prehistoric (Neolithic)
people in Wiltshire, Mr. F. J. Bennet alludes to the abundant local
occurrence of Sarsens ("Sketch History of Marlborough in Neolithic
Times," March, 1892, pp. 4, 8). He also indicates how Sarsens were
used by the Neolithic folk in the boundary walls of the terraces of
cultivatable ground in Wiltshire. That they were used afterwards
in the building of houses, castles, churches, etc., is well known.

1894. Pebbles and flint-breccia in some Sarsens from Marlborough
Forest in Professor Prestwich's collection, seen July, 1S94.

1896. From Avebury a white saccharoidal sandstone, with
siliceous cement, and containing an irregular, coarse, brush-like
group of sub-parallel, tubular, and filamentous cavities, probably
due to rootlets, stained with iron oxide. — F. Chapman.

1901. The block that fell this Winter at Stonehenge contains
a layer of flints. It is No. 17 L (the lintel) of the map of Stonehenge
by the Archaeological Society of Wiltshire. — W. Cunmugtou,
January 9, 1901.

122 Professor T. Riiperi Jones — History of Sarsens.

(13) Dorset. — 1842. J. Sydenham : " Baal Durotrigensis :
A Dissertation on the Antient Colossal Figure at Cerne,. Dorset-
shire, etc.," 1842. In a footnote at p. 18, the Sarsens at Little
Mayne (referred to at pp. 136 and 161 of ray paper in the Wilts
Mag., 1886) are recognized as relics of circles and parts of avenues.

1871. E. H. W. Dukin, " Megalithic Eemains in South Dorset,"
in the Eeliq. Quart. Archeeol. Journ. and Review, 1871,
pp. 12-15 (separate copy), refers to the stones at Little Mayne.
Mr. C. Warne also (1872) notices those old stones in his " Antient
Dorset," quoting Sydenham's " Baal Durotrigensis."

1871. Poxwell, Pogswell, or Pockswell, is a village about
5 miles north-east of Weymouth, on the Wareham Road, and at
about a quarter of a mile south-east of the church is a small circle
of rough Sarsens, brown in colour, with much quartz-crystals in
cavities. The stones are much split on the surfaces in squarish
irregular segments, with something like gaping fissures. (Dukin,
1871, and T. R. J. 1887.)

Amongst the Sarsens of Dorset, many of them now relics of
ancient structures, but originally scattered over the surface of the
country, there are evidently many conglomerates. The grooved,
or probably holed and broken, stone at Tennant Hill Circle, consists
of a "hard puddingstone or conglomerate" (Dukin, 1871, p. 12).
The circle at Winterbourne Abbas is described (ibid., pp. 4 and 5),
partly after Stukeley ; and it is stated there are " ten stones of
a very hard sort, full of flints ; the tallest to west eight feet high,
the north seven feet broad, six feet high " (op. cit., p. 5). The
usual ridiculous belief in devil handiwork still exists in Dorset
and Cornwall (op. cit., p. 9).

1887. At Fordington Green, Dorchester, at the east end, at the
corner of a house bearing the Ordnance Survey Bench-mark, is
a Sarsen ; the top is three-faced (4 feet where widest, and 2 ft. 7 ins.
high), the sides rounded. This stone some people removed not very
long ago, but others had it brought back and replaced. — T. R. J.

(14) Somerset. — 1888. Many Sarsens in the country around
Taunton along the roads and lanes, and in villages at corners, farm-
gates, etc.

In the Castle grounds at Taunton, in the gardens of the
Archaeological Society, there is a Sarsen that has been set up as
a memorial stone to one of their officers. It is somewhat triangular
in outline, 4 ft. 6 ins. high, and 6 ft. 2 ins. at its widest part near the
base. Smoothly rounded and irregularly pitted on one face, and flat
(apparently split) on the other. It bears a tablet with inscription
to the memory of W. A. Jones, who was Secretary to the Society for
20 years. It also refers to the donation for buying the grounds for
the Society, made by the friends of Mr. W. A. Jones. — W. Bidgood.

1888. Numerous Sarsens are passed on the road from Taunton
for about 10 miles to Staple Fitzpaine, where in a hedge-bank are
several such stones, one of which, 5 feet long, and 4 feet high or
thick, above ground, with its surface rounded and water-worn, is
locally known as the ' Devil's Stone ' ; for, having knowledge of the

Professor T. Rupert Jones — Iltsfori/ of Sarseus. 12'5

intended building of a cliuvch there, be gathered a few rocks as he
came thither, but, getting tired, slept on the bank, until he awoke
in the morning, and to his astonishment saw the fine tower of the
church already up and finished. In his hurry to get up, his satchel
broke, the stones fell out, and one in particular remains there now !
This is the most western of the Sarsens that I know of. — T. R. J.

The microscopic structure of a piece of one of the blocks at or
near Staple Fitzpaiue, which had the appearance of a Sarsen, is thus
described by Mr. Fred. Chapman, A.L.S. :— " This rock is largely
composed of angular and subangular chips of quartz and chert,
cemented by a kind of paste of fine quartz sand and limonite.
The included fragments are very variable in size, the angular
predominating over the subangular. A fair proportion of the
fragments are of secondary quartz ; some clear, others with strings
of gas-cavities. There are a few chips of a somewhat brecciated
rock, not unlike a decomposed rhyolite in character. There is at
least one fragment of flint in the section examined. The chert
fragments, possibly of Cenomanian age, contain a few examples of
Globigerina cretacea. One of the larger pieces included in this
Sarsen (?) is a chert, crowded with Radiolaria, in a generally good
state of preservation, some of the organisms bearing long spmes
beset with smaller spines. Dr. G. J. Hinde, who has been good
enough to examine the slide, thinks that there is not enough
evidence for the identification of genera, but that the chert is most
probabl}' of Palceozoic age."

1888. In the Museum of the Bath Institute I saw a somewhat
water-worn block of light-coloured saccharoidal sandstone, looking
very much like a Sarsen; chips of this stone show an ochreous tint
and siliceous cement. The Rev. H. H. Winwood, F.G.S., Honorary
Curator of the Museum, informs me that it came from the Victoria
Gravel-pit, on the right of the Somerset and Dorset Railway, where
the road crosses the line at South Hill. It measures 33 inches in
length, 16 inches where it is broadest, and 4 to 7 inches in thickness.
With other similar blocks it lay at the base of the gravel on the blue
Lias clay. At first he was inclined to regard it as having been
derived from the Millstone Grit of the Wick and Bristol district ;
but he has since seen sarsenic pebbles and blocks in the Gravel, and
he noticed a large Sarsen at the Westbury Ironworks. Near Uown-
head, in the Mendips, he has observed numerous siliceous blocks
having the appearance of Sarsens; but others just like them lying
on the north slope of the Mendips at Ashwick, contain Liassic fossils.
Great caution, therefore, is necessary in determining these somewhat
similar siliceous blocks of Pala30zoic, Secondary, and lertiary age

respectively. — H. H. W. , , • i ^ j

(15) Devon.— In 1822 Dr. Buckland described the large, isolated,
siliceous blocks, scattered about on the hills near Sidmouth, as being
much like the Hertfordshire Puddingstone, but having the mcliuiecl
flint "mostly angular" and not rounded. In 182G he referred to
these in Devon, and others in Dorset and elsewhere, as being tne
same as the recognized Greywethers. (Trans. Geol. Soc, ser. ii,
vol. ii, pp. 12G, 127.)

124 Professor T. Rupert Jones — History of Sarsens.

Bibliographic List of Works treating of Sarsens,
Corrected, Enlarged, and Continued from the Wilts Mag., 1886,

pp. 153, 154:.

1644. Richard Symonds' Diary of the Marches Ivcpt by the Royal Army, etc.

Edited by C. E. Long for the Camdeu Society, 1859, p. 151.
1656-84. John Aubrey's Nat. Hist. Wiltshire. Edited by J. Brittou, 1847, p. 44.
1656-84. John Aubrey. The Topographical Collections, etc., by J. E. Jackson,

1862, p. 314.
.1673. Marlborough Corporation Accounts, by F. A. Carriugton. Wiltshire

Archasological and Natural History Society's Magazine, vol. iii (1857),

p. 111.
1787. Daines Barrington. Archa3ologia, vol. viii, p. 442.

1813. W. Mavor. Report on the Agriculture of Berkshire, pp. 34, 35.

1814. T. Webster. Trans. Geol. Soc. London, vol. ii, pp. 224, 225.

1819. G. B. Greenough. Critical Examination of the First Principles of Geology,

pp. 112 and 293.
1823. W. Buckland. Reliquiae DiluviansB, p. 248.
1833. W. D. Conybeare and G. T. Clark. Gentleman's Magazine, vol. ciii,

pt. 2, p. 452.
1833. G. A. Mantell. Geology of the South-East of England, pp. 48-50.
1836. W. Buckland and H. De la Beche. Trans. Geol. Soc, ser. ii, vol. iv, p. 4.
1847. J. Prestwich. Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc, vol. iii, p. 382.
1852-3. W. Cunnington. Devizes Gazette, June, 1852, and June, 1853. Quoted

by W. Long, Wilts Mag., vol. iv (1858), p. 334, etc.
1854. J. Prestwich. Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. (paper read May, 1853), vol. x,

p. 123, etc.
1854. T. R. Jones. Lecture on the Geological History of the Vicinity of Newbury,

Berks, p. 21.
1858. W. Long. On Abury. Wilts Mag., vol. iv, p. 334, etc, quoting

W. Cunuiugton.

1858. A. C. Ramsay and others. Mem. Geol. Surv., Explan. Sheet 34, p. 41, etc.

1859. A. C. Ramsay and others. Catal. Rock -Specimens, etc., Mus. Pract.

Geol., 2nd ed., p. 288.
1859. G. P. Scrope. Wilts Mag., vol. v, p. 110.

1859. J. L. Ross (quoting R. Faulkner). Ibid., p. 168.

1860. R. Hunt. Mem. Geol. Surv. Great Britain, Mining Statistics, p. 167.

1861. E. Hull, W. Whitaker, aud others. Mem. Geol. Surv., Explan. Sheet 13,

p. 47, etc.

1862. H. W. Bristow and W. Whitaker. Ibid., Explan. Sheet 12, p. 51, etc.
1862. A. C. Ramsay and others. Catal. Rock- Specimens, etc., Mxis. Pract.

Geol., 3rd ed., p. 163.

1862. "W. Whitaker. Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc, vol. xviii, p. 271, etc.

1862. "W. H. Bensted. Geologist, vol. v, pp. 449, 450.

1863. 0. Fisher. Geologist, vol. vi, p. 30.

1864. W. Whitaker. Mem. Geol. Surv., Explan. Sheet 7, p. 71, etc.

1865. T. Codrington. Wilts Mag., vol. ix, p. 167, etc

1866. W. Long (quoting W. Cunnington's paper of 1865, which was not printed

in full). Wilts Mag., vol. x, p. 71, etc.
1866. A. C. Smith. Wilts Mag., vol. x, p. 52, etc

1866. W. T. Nicolls. Geol. Mag., Vol. Ill, p. 296, etc.

1867. G. Maw. Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc, vol. xxiii, pp. 110, 112, 113.

1868. J. Adams. Lecture on the Geology of the Country around Newbury.

JSfeivhurij Neivs, December, 1868.

1869. A.L.Lewis. Trans. Internat. Congress Prehist. Archteol. for 1868, p. 43.
1869. John Adams. Wilts Mag., vol. xi, pp. 274, 277, etc.

1869. W. Cunnington. Ibid., p. 348.

1869. Anon. (Stukeley's notes.) Ibid., p. 344.

1870. T. Codrington. Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc, vol. xxv, p. 535.

1871. J. Adams. Trans. Newbury District Field Club, vol. i, pp. 104-107, 151.

1872. J. Fergusson. Rude Stone "Monuments, pp. 92, 95.

1872. W. Whitaker. Mem. Geol. Surv., vol. iv, pp. 309, 323, etc.

Friday 5 August 2011

The Awkward Heelstone

David Field and Trevor Pearson say: "It was a good point made by Johnson (2008, 121) that the Heel Stone is too awkward and bulky a shape to move on rollers and it, at least, is unlikely to have travelled far."

It may be a bit rounder but is no bulkier or more awkward than the other stones - and it has a nice flat side to lay on a cradle. Their support for Johnson's inexplicable comment is surprising.

Field & Pearson on The Sarsens


David Field and Trevor Pearson
Research Department Report Series
NGR: SU 12244219
© English Heritage
ISSN 1749-8775

Sarsen boulders occur naturally within the area as remnants of a crust of siliceous sandstone formed in the Eocene (55-38 m years) that once overlay the chalk but which has long since broken up, eroded, weathered and many drifted into valleys (Green 1997, 260). Like fint, where present they might retard local weathering of the chalk. Compared to the Marlborough Downs, however, remnants are fewer on Salisbury Plain and what little remained following periglacial processes appears for the most part to have been long cleared.

The source of the stones:

Inigo Jones was the frst to point out that the stones incorporated in the monument need not have come from Ireland but that building stone was available locally, for example at Chilmark. Even so he was inclined to believe that the sarsen derived from quarries on the Marlborough Downs where sarsen boulders were plentiful. More recently, while recognising the lack of large sarsen available on the Marlborough Downs, Green (1997) assumed that the Stonehenge examples must nevertheless have come from that area as it is the place of the greatest accumulation and choice. Heavy mineral analysis on samples from Stonehenge and the Marlborough Downs (Howard 1982), however, indicated that there was a considerable degree of variation between them.

Essentially, sarsen is present in greater or lesser numbers right across central southern England (Bowen and Smith 1977). Within Wiltshire and south of the Marlborough Downs it is widely present in the Vale of Pewsey and there remains a veneer on Salisbury Plain, though early agriculture in both of these areas may have contributed to the thin distribution. A boulder neatly broken into at least three pieces occurred in Late Bronze Age-Early Iron Age contexts in the East Chisenbury midden (McOmish et al 2010, 82) and this may have been the fate of a great many that proved an obstacle to the widespread establishment of ‘Celtic’ felds on Salisbury Plain to the north of Stonehenge.

William Long (1876, 142) quoted John Aubrey regarding the King Barrows. ‘At the end of these graves were stones, which the people of late years, sc. Since 1640, have fetcht away…’ and Stukeley appears to have repeated this (Burl & Mortimer 2005, 29). In addition he noted that there was a large stone in Durrington Field, one in the river at Milford and another in the feld to the west of Figheldean c3 miles from Stonehenge. (Stukeley 1740, 37: Burl & Mortimer 2005, 31).

William Cunnington (Cunnington Mss Devizes Book 9) described how, in the early years of the 19th century, farmers ploughed up sarsen in the vicinity of Stonehenge and there is suffcient evidence remaining to indicate that he was not mistaken. Cunnington wrote that sarsen is found ‘upon the Downs, a foot or two under the ground their supefces are rounded by attrition’ while ‘others ploughed up near Stonehenge appear to have been bored through by the Toredo’ (Cunnington MSS Book 9 Devizes Museum). Sarsen was used at Boles Barrow, Arn Hill and elsewhere on Salisbury
Plain in long barrow construction, while six large extant boulders lie to the north of Stonehenge at Robin Hoods Ball and three more in the ditch of the Figheldean 31 long barrow (McOmish et al 2002, 151-2). Others were noted on early Ordnance Survey maps.

Hoare wavered and considered on one hand that the Marlborough Downs was a potential source but also that the origin of the sarsens at Stonehenge could be local, ‘the plains adjoining Stonehenge might very probably have furnished stones suffciently large’ (Hoare 1812, 149, 152). The Rev E Duke (1846, 170) questioned the assumption that the sarsens had been brought from the Marlborough Downs and noted that none are now to be found of that size there. Instead, he suggested that the boulders were ‘quarried from a continuous stratum’ and indeed such seams are thought to exist around Avebury (Barker 1985, 21). Petrie noted that there were few or no sarsens of the required size to be found elsewhere, that is on the Marlborough Downs, and
considered whether the very position of Stonehenge was determined by the presence of a quantity of sarsens that had derived from denuded beds formerly lying over the chalk and on balance thought that they had been collected from the immediate vicinity.

Gowland similarly considered them brought from ‘within a radius of not many miles’ and ‘probably at no great distance from the spot where the structure stands’ (Gowland 1902, 75, 115) rather than from a distant locality, while the geologist Prof J W Judd (1901, 115-6) thought likewise and that they had moved ‘only a few hundred yards’. H H Thomas (1923, 242) considered that they may have come from ‘the site of Stonehenge itself ’. It was a good point made by Johnson (2008, 121) that the Heel Stone is too awkward and bulky a shape to move on rollers and it, at least, is unlikely to have travelled far. Equally the much smaller undressed Station Stones may be quite local. It is after all possible to fnd larger stones on Salisbury Plain without having to travel to the Marlborough Downs for them. If these points are accepted it becomes easier to
acknowledge that the sarsen group as a whole may not have been the product of a heroic journey.

The diffculty in working sarsen is well-known (Fig 14) and while weathered sarsen lying on the surface has an exceedingly tough crust, Isobel Geddes crucially pointed out that in contrast
buried sarsen is soft and can be easily worked (Geddes 2000: also Bowen & Smith 1977, 189). This was something also noted by Cunnington: ‘when frst dug out of the ground they are soft like freestone just quarried….if broken you may crumble the inside pieces between your fngers like Lump Sugar’ (Cunnington MSS Book 4, 34). Geddes also pointed out that the only place where sarsen boulders large enough for Stonehenge monoliths have been found in recent times is below the surface in swallow holes where they have been protected from weathering (Bowen & Smith 1977, 189 refer to this also). It is worth noting that there are at least two such holes, potentially more, in the Stonehenge landscape.

Thursday 4 August 2011

Stonehenge Building Climate

Historical weather events.

3000 BC onwards: Bronze Age recovery (after previous, relatively short-lived downturn): freedom from major storms, excessive rainfall etc., and renewed increase in temperature. Glaciers & 'permanent' snow-patches less prominent. Increase in forest cover back to more 'exposed' (in modern terms) western / upland areas. Renewed building of stone circles - possibly as observatories - this suggests lower cloud cover amounts than before. The Elm & Lime tree 'northern-most' line moved north, and woods probably grew on Orkney & exposed NW Scotland, therefore again implying milder and, perhaps more importantly, much less windy conditions than the modern era.

Ref: Climate, history and the modern world. H.H. Lamb Methuen 1982
Ref: The English climate. H.H. Lamb English Universities Press 1964

Moving Sarsen Stones on Ice

Bearing Capacity of Freshwater Ice
Gold Formula
The most accepted ice capacity guideline, developed by Dr. Lorne Gold of the National Research Council of Canada. Dr. Gold dedicated most of his professional career to ice related engineering studies.

Ice Capacity Using the Gold Formula

P= allowable load capacity of the ice in kilograms.
H= Blue or natural ice thickness in centimeters
W= White ice (flood ice) thickness in centimeters
For solid blue ice:
P= 7.03 X H2
For blue and white ice combined:
P= 7.03 X (H + 1/2W)2

(Cms) Capacity (Kgs)
2 = 28
4 = 112
6 = 253
8 = 450
10 = 703
12 = 1,012
14 = 1,378
16 = 1,780
18 = 2,278
20 = 2,812
22 = 3,403
24 = 4,049
26 = 4,752
28 = 5,512
30 = 6,327
32 = 7,199
34 = 8,127
36 = 9,111
38 = 10,151
40 = 11,248
42 = 12,401
44 = 13,610
46 = 14,876
48 = 16,197
50 = 17,575
52 = 19,000
54 = 20,499
56 = 22,046
58 = 23,649
60 = 25,308
62 = 27,023
64 = 28,795
66 = 30,623
68 = 32,507
70 = 34,447
72 = 36,443
74 = 38,496
76 = 40,605
78 = 42,771
80 = 44,992
82 = 47,270
84 = 49,604
86 = 51,994
88 = 54,440
90 = 56,943
92 = 59,502
94 = 62,117
96 = 64,788
98 = 67,516
100 = 70,300

So a 50 tonne sarsen stone would need continuous good ice of 85cm depth. Flooded marsh land and flowing rivers and ice on the edge of a channel are not "good" ice and so a greater depth would be needed.

Upto 75 large stones were moved so these conditions would have to have been met repeatedly for them to have been skidded down the frozen River Avon.

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Stonehenge and Avebury seminar at Devizes – a report

Stonehenge and Avebury seminar at Devizes – a report

Mike Parker Pearson ....told us of some recent fieldwork he’d done near the Devil’s Den, a cromlech at the bottom of the long valley running south from Fyfield Down and the Grey Wethers, a valley that must have been a stone chute for the sarsens sliding down the valley sides. MPP said that he and Mike Pitts had spotted large depressions in the valley above the Den, and he suggested that these might have been the resting places of sarsen stones before they made the journey to Stonehenge. So, what would that journey have been? It’s very unlikely that they’d have been dragged up the valley and then down again to Avebury. So the only reasonable suggestion is that they went down Clatford Bottom, the valley continuation to Clatford, and crossed the river Kennet. Crossing the Kennet would require a causeway – and MPP thinks he’s spotted one beside the existing bridge. Exciting, or what? The obvious route then is to take the easy slopes through Lockeridge to Knap Hill, and then down to Marden henge, and the headwaters of the Avon. Perhaps the Marden henge monumentalizes the crossing of the Avon? The Clatford hypothesis should be easy enough to test and, if MPP is right about a heavily-piled Kennet causeway strong enough to carry stones weighing up to 50 tons, there could still be some mud-preserved remains in the river bottom. And that could lead to an RC dating that would date Stonehenge precisely.

Tuesday 2 August 2011

Cannings Marsh Map - With Slopes And Sarsen Route Marked

A reduced image of a map (Click for larger) showing the approximate extent of Cannings Marsh and other wet areas. Slopes are marked in brown. The most logical route for transporting the sarsens from the Marlborough Downs to the top of Redhorn Hill is shown. (The only route across Salisbury Plain that is level enough starts at the top of Redhorn Hill). The track up is a manageable slope. It will be noted that the route goes through Marden Henge.

Monday 1 August 2011

How Did The Sarsen Stones Get To Stonehenge?

This is the standard proposed route for the transport of the sarsen stones to Stonehenge.

This blog is open ongoing research in which I am investigating why this is wrong, or at least extremely unlikely.

Any helpful comments are welcome as the hypotheses of alternative routes are tried.