Megaliths & Mounds of Bredon Hill
Updated: Jul 15, 2022
Bredon Hill stands brooding at the very edge of the Cotswold range in Worcestershire. This unique stone has been a source of building material in the area for centuries and the golden hued towns and villages that stretch southwards are much loved by tourists and locals alike. Such was it's value, a large quarry operated on the south slope of Bredon Hill during the Anglo Saxon era and the dips and undulations seen today are testament to it's magnitude.
It is said that around the same area of the hill lay burial mounds, some as yet undisturbed, and the difference between grave and quarry spoils is blurred. One such mound was always known and respected, dating from the Bronze Age, and became a place to avoid, associated with the spirits of it's dead. This mound was indeed excavated during the late 19thcentury and found to contain the remains of a man and a woman along with some pottery. Who this couple were has been lost to time.
The Court Leet was a baronial justice system first established during the Norman era in England. It gave power to a lord or baron over and above the existing hundred courts, gradually growing and expanding as time went on and the power of the barons increased. One such court was held on Bredon Hill at the base of the old quarry by a pair of ancient stones known as the King and Queen Stones. These megaliths would be whitewashed for the occasion and proceedings were heard over the course of the day.
Ancient sites, especially burial mounds, were still regarded with deep superstition by this time. They were regarded with fear more than respect and seen as haunted, an attitude carried over from the Anglo Saxons who often saw them as entrances to an underworld. The Bredon Hill mound was no exception, and an unusual punishment was devised to make use of this fear. A set of stocks was built next to the mound, carefully chiselled out of a single large stone...it may even have possibly been taken from a nearby dolmen, the remains of which still lay in a nearby field to this day.
Upon conviction, the felon would be locked into these stocks and left overnight on the mound in this eerie place. The medieval mind would have conjured up all manner of imagined terrors, the more paranormal minded might say not so imaginary, but in any case the poor soul would spend the night frozen with fear accompanied by the spirits of this place, real or imagined.
The mound and the remains of the stocks are there today, a little way along from the King and Queen Stones, lying quietly in the corner of a wooded gully. Rumours and evidence of strange goings on abound and even a possible ritual murder occurred near the site of the Court Leet, of which I will publish an article about in detail very soon. From the quarry down to the mound the area does have a silence and stillness about it that many, including myself, do find a little unsettling. History does indeed leave it's mark.
The King and Queen Stones