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The King & Queen Stones

Framed by oak, horse-chestnut and bramble, these ancient stones stand almost hidden on the southern slopes of Bredon Hill in Worcestershire. They are known as The King and Queen Stones, but there are three of them...why?


These great pillars are actually natural formations known as gulls, formed from millions of tiny pieces of limestone "glued" together with very hard calcite. As the rest of the land around the gulls eroded the formations stood strong, gradually revealed in their entirety as the landscape changed.


The King and Queen Stones were originally a pair with the "king" forming an arch through which a person could walk. This was a very important site for traditional country beliefs as the stone was considered to have healing powers. Babies were passed through the arch to ensure health and strength as they grew, while sick and injured people would do the same.


The stones were used as the site for Anglo-Saxon moots then later on were the location for the medieval "Court Leet", where legal disputes and criminal cases were heard. The stones were whitewashed specially for the occasion as priests, nobles and commoners gathered in their shadow, indicating that they must have been held in high esteem for a long time before.


By the beginning of the 20th century the King had partially collapsed and the Court Leet, as it now stood, had moved to a pub in Bredon. The custom changed slightly to tell how visitors should clamber through the fissure between the newly split stone on the morning of New Year's Day to gain good luck for the rest of the year.


Unfortunately the stones are now fenced off on one side so access can only be gained by a very winding and indirect route from the other direction, well worth the effort as a Bronze Age barrow lies very close by.


I take a very deep dive into the mysteries of Bredon Hill in my book The Mystery Of Mercia, available at Lulu.com



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