The Longstone, Mottistone
Description and location
The Longstone consists of two pieces of local greensand sandstone probably from a vein 100m away. The larger stands at 3.9m (13 feet) and the smaller lies at its foot. They are on the edge of a wood in small fenced enclosure just off Strawberry Lane, near Mottistone. The name Mottistone (the Speaker’s or pleader’s stone) almost certainly derives from the Longstone. The stones and the surrounding land are in the care of the National Trust and are open to the public.
Until the mid nineteenth century the smaller stone was further south but in 1856 a local landowner, Lord Dillon, had it turned over to discover if it had a mortise hole (it did not). Its present position has led to fanciful tales of its being a sacrificial altar stone and, in common with many other megalithic monuments, modern pagan meetings and rituals are associated with it.
Associated long barrow
The stones are associated with a narrow mound 21m (70 feet) long, which runs from them to the west. In September 1956, excavations by C.N. Hawkes appeared to confirm that this was the remains of a long barrow, so that the stones may be the remains of an entrance. Long barrows in this part of England that are not on chalk or limestone are rare.
Although dating is difficult, pottery excavated in 1956 indicates that the mound (and therefore probably the stones also) are Neolithic.
- Druid site with photographs and mixed archaeological and folk history
- Photographs of the monument, Jerry Anderson, Megalithic Portal, 11 February 2001.