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Rudston Monolith

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
Location near Rudston and Bridlington
Region East Riding of Yorkshire, England
Type Standing stone (megalith)
Material Moor Grit Conglomerate
Periods late Neolithic
Site notes
Condition some damage
Website reference Megalithic Portal

The Rudston Monolith at over 7.6 metres (25 ft) is the tallest megalith (Standing stone) in the United Kingdom. It is situated in the churchyard in the village of Rudston in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

The nearest source (Cayton or Cornelian Bay) of stone of the type the monolith is made of is 9.9 miles (16 km) north of the site. It was probably erected around 1600 BC.[1] 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 which was already considered sacred, a practice which was common through the country, indeed the name of Rudston is thought to come from the Old English "Rood-stane", meaning "cross-stone", implying that a stone already venerated was adapted for Christian purposes.

Royston[2] stated that in 1861 during levelling of the church yard an additional 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) of the monolith was buried. The weight is estimated at 40 tons (about 40,000 kg).[1]

Sir William Strickland is reported to have conducted an experiment in the late 18th century determining that there was as much of the stone below ground as is visible above. Strickland found many skulls during his dig and suggests they might have been sacrificial.

The top appears to have broken off the stone. If pointed, the stone would originally have stood about 8.5 metres (28 ft). In 1773, the stone was capped in lead, this was later removed, though the stone is currently capped.

Fossilised dinosaur footprints on one side of the stone may have contributed to its importance to those who erected it.

The stone is very slender, with two large flat faces. The flat face of the stone faces the midwinter sunrise in the south-east.

Lines, created by removing soil and grass from above the turf may have been created in the area, and have been linked to the stone. There are many other earthworks in the area, including burial mounds and cursuses.

See also


  1. ^ a b The Megalithic Portal and Megalith Map: Rudston Monolith Standing Stone (Menhir)
  2. ^ "Old Yorkshire" Vol 1, by William Smith, 1891


  • Photos and history of the stone compiled by Mike Thornton
  • Rudston News' page on the monolith (includes photos)
  • Photo of descriptive plaque in the churchyard.
  • Page containing a photo showing the stone from an angle revealing how slender it is.
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