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The Tibblestone - A Modest Megalith

Drivers pulling in to this Gloucestershire garage for a Subway or a Costa coffee might not notice that a Neolithic standing stone is right in front of them. The Tibblestone, more of a minilith than a megalith, stands proudly on its little patch of lawn amid the hustle and bustle of a busy filling station.


It's name probably derives from "Theobald's Stone", named for an Anglo-Saxon lord who once held the land around it. The little menhir was likely used as a moot or hundred stone, marking the place where the folk of the hundred - an area that could sustain one hundred households - would gather for the folkmoot where legal matters would be heard, deals struck and news shared.


The Tibblestone became a boundary marker as the centuries wore on, before it was completely forgotten about at some point after it's last mention in a text from 1779. It lay on its side among brambles and long grass until 1948, when a repair garage was built next to it and the stone was dragged back to a standing position.

Long before that it is thought that the Tibblestone was a remnant of a Neolithic long barrow, collapsed and its contents repurposed, in common with other Gloucestershire standing stones. Historic England gave it grade II status, calling it a "prehistoric monolith". Folklore has its say too, giving us a tall tale of a giant who prepared to hurl the Tibblestone at vikings on the Severn river but slipped and fell, leaving the conglomerate slab where he stumbled.


If you're ever passing by the Gloucestershire village of Teddington then do pull into the filling station for a look at this modest megalith. I take a close look at the stones and barrows of Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds in my book The Mystery Of Mercia II.



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