Rudston Monolith

Coordinates: 54°05′38″N 0°19′21″W / 54.093884°N 0.322574°W / 54.093884; -0.322574
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Rudston Monolith
a cemetery over which towers a large standing stone with some sort of cap
Rudston Monolith, almost 26ft high, close to Rudston Parish Church of All Saints
Rudston Monolith is located in East Riding of Yorkshire
Rudston Monolith
Shown within the East Riding of Yorkshire
RegionEast Riding of Yorkshire, England
Coordinates54°05′38″N 0°19′21″W / 54.093884°N 0.322574°W / 54.093884; -0.322574
TypeStanding stone (megalith)
MaterialMoor Grit Conglomerate
Periodslate Neolithic/ early Bronze Age
Site notes
Conditionsome damage

The Rudston Monolith at over 25 feet (7.6 m) is the tallest megalith (standing stone) in the United Kingdom. It is situated in the churchyard in the village of Rudston (grid reference TA098678) in the East Riding of Yorkshire.


The stone is slender, with two large flat faces. It is approximately 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m) wide and just under 3 feet 3 inches (1 m) thick.[1] The top appears to have broken off the stone. If pointed, the stone would originally have stood about 28 feet (8.5 m). In 1773 the stone was capped in lead; this was later removed, though the stone is currently capped.[1] The weight is estimated at 40 tonnes.[2] The monolith is made of gritstone.[1] The nearest source for the stone (Cayton or Cornelian Bay) is 9.9 miles (16 km) north of the site, although it may have been brought naturally to the site as a glacial erratic.[1] The monument dates to the Late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age.[1] A possible fossilised dinosaur footprint is said to be on one side of the stone, though a study by English Heritage in 2015 concluded that the claim was unsubstantiated.[3]

There is one other smaller stone, of the same type, in the churchyard, which was once situated near the large stone. The Norman church was almost certainly intentionally built on a site already considered sacred, a practice common through the country – indeed the name of Rudston comes from the Old English "Rood-stane", meaning "cross-stone", implying that a stone already venerated was adapted for Christian purposes.

The many other prehistoric monuments in the area include four cursuses, three of which appear to converge on the site of the monolith.[1]

Antiquarian accounts[edit]

Sir William Stukeley found "the dimensions of the monolith within ground as large as those without".[4] Stukeley found many skulls during his dig and suggested they might have been sacrificial.

Thomas Waller states that in 1861 during levelling of the churchyard the surface of the ground near the monolith was raised 5 feet (1.5 m).[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Historic England. "Rudston Monolith (79482)". Research records (formerly PastScape). Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  2. ^ "The Megalithic Portal and Megalith Map: Rudston Monolith Standing Stone (Menhir)". Retrieved 2 March 2009.
  3. ^ "No trace of dinosaur feet on ancient megalith". Yorkshire Post. 1 September 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  4. ^ a b Waller, Thomas (1881). Smith, William (ed.). Old Yorkshire. Vol. 1. London: Longmans. p. 25. Retrieved 29 November 2016.

External links[edit]