Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
It consists of three separate standing stone sites, they are;
The King's Men, a stone circle of 70 closely spaced stones with a diameter of 33m. They are set on top of a circular bank and there is an entrance to the southeast marked by two portal stones. The site is unexcavated and so can only be loosely dated to the late Neolithic or early Bronze age. It was restored in 1882.
The King Stone; 76m east of The King's Men (and technically in Warwickshire) stands a single, weathered monolith, 2.4m high and 1.5m wide. Some archaeoastronomers saw an alignment between The King Stone, the centre of the King's Men circle and the star Capella as it rose in the sky. Carbon dating of material found beneath the stone during excavation in 1982 put the mean date of its erection at 1792 BC, much later than the other monuments and illustrating how misleading supposed astronomical alignments can be. The Kings Stone is more likely to have been a marker stone serving a now destroyed cairn burial.
The Whispering Knights, 400m east of The King's Men is a remains of the burial chamber of an early or middle Neolithic portal dolmen. Four standing stones survive, forming a chamber around 2m square with a fifth recumbent stone which is probably the collapsed roof. William Stukeley visited the site in 1764 and saw the remains of a round barrow on the site.
Numerous folktales are associated with the stones including the tale that a king was riding across the county with his army when he was accosted by a witch. She said to him:
Seven long strides thou shalt take, And if Long Compton thou can see, King of England thou shalt be
His troops gathered in circle to together to discuss the challenge and his knights muttered amongst themselves but the king boldy took seven steps forward. Rising ground blocked his view of Long Compton in the valley and the witch cackled;
As Long Compton thou canst not see, King of England thou shalt not be, Rise up stick and stand still stone, For King of England thou shalt be none, Thou and thy men hoar stones shall be, And I myself an elder tree
With that the king and his men were turned into the stones that now stand at the site.
The stones were vandalised on March 29, 2004 when yellow paint was dripped onto the Kings Men circle. Due to the ancient lichens covering the stones, cleanup is expected to be a very slow and expensive process.
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