Re-Imagining the Ring


What is this project?

The exciting new sculpture project by young people uses art to fill gaps in the King’s Men stone circle, recreating its original sense of enclosure. The challenge for young artists has been to respond creatively to the associations and folklore of this special place; prehistoric ways fo life, crafts and animals; abstract ideas of form, colour and texture; and deep contrasts of ancient and modern.

The challenge for visitors is not just to enjoy the sculptures for their own imaginative responses to the site, but also experience the stone circle in a different way. Even relatively well-preserved monuments are quite ruinous and do not fully reflect their original form: the design of this stone circle was a continuous ring of boulders leaving only a narrow entrance opposite the tallest stone, which casts a different light on its original sense of enclosure and possible uses. This distinctive form of monument is not local but much more characteristic of stone circles found in NW England, Ireland or Wales, which may well be where the community who built it originated.

(Scroll down for link to catalogue of sculptures.)


Co-ordinated by OYAP Trust and mentored by three professional artists, three schools have taken up the challenge for their primary classes aged 7-9, who between them have contributed 18 sculptures. In addition, several more pieces have been contributed by individual young artists in their teens. The result is a fascinating and highly eclectic and imaginative take on the Stones and their highly varied characteristics and associations.


The display will formally last throughout the school summer holidays and into the beginning of next term, from 25th July until 9th September with a little leeway at either end of this period. At 12 noon during the Trust’s Family Fun Day on Bank Holiday Monday August 27th the sculptures will be celebrated with a formal thank-you to all who have contributed and the award of prizes….!


The Rollright stone circle is a distinctive design, originally with a complete ring of almost touching stones – like a row of teeth – but for a narrow entrance marked by two ‘portal’ stones just outside its circumference opposite the tallest stone. There also are traces of the stones having been set in a very low horseshoe shaped bank, possibly derived from flattening the interior. Several stone circles like this survive in Cumbria in NW England, with a few in Ireland and possibly Wales, but not elsewhere in Britain. It seems likely that the people who built the King’s Men may have originated in one of those areas and constructed a monument that fitted their ancestral architectural heritage. Over the thousands of years since the ring was built, people have made off with stones for use in other ways – commemorated in legend by the farmer who took a stone to make a bridge over a stream; after it took 24 horses to drag the stone down the hill followed by several disasters it only took one to return it! The stones are famously uncountable (as a baker found when he tried putting a bun on each) and the gaps and their temporary sculptural fillers add the uncertainty… This challenge thus recreates – in a highly imaginative way – the original idea of the circle as a confined space with only one narrow entrance and reminds us that ancient monuments do not always survive as originally built.

....and what became of the witch?

Remember the story of the witch who changed the King and his men into stones, and then turned herself into an Elder tree? Could this be her now, with her feathered robes, her charms, and a pocketful of torn-out pages from her potion and spells recipe book…?

Find out more...

Rollright Reflections -  A visit by the Oxford Forest Church


A visit and creation of a labyrinth by the Oxford Forest Church

Gradually, by ones and twos, Oxford Forest Church gathered at the Rollright Stones.  We congregated outside the circle at first, introducing ourselves to each other and noticing the feelings we had each brought with us.

Then we entered the circle through the gateway formed by the double stones, walking directly towards the tallest stone, and then separated, each going to stand silently by a different stone for a few minutes, watching and listening with eyes, ears and hearts, connecting with the place.

People spoke of the peace and depth of the place, and feelings of curiosity, connection with the past.

We read a poem by Malcolm Guite, entitled Prayer/Walk.  Themes of prayer and walking echo through it – paths and companions and faith and vision are all mentioned, and these themes, along with change and constancy and the turning of the year at the Spring Equinox, were the themes of our gathering.

Hazel and willow branches were available, and together we constructed a simple labyrinth in the centre of the circle. Labyrinths have been used as a guide for prayerful walking for centuries in the Christian tradition.

Taking sticks and stones, branches of dry leaves, and a red ribbon, we walked into the labyrinth. It is a slow, meditative walk, and the circular paths bring you again and again to the same views – except they are never quite the same.  The path seems to take you directly to the centre, but then winds slowly outwards. Just as you seem to be at the furthest point, it swings you unexpectedly into the central space.

There we laid down our symbols of autumn and winter, and took up a sprig of white dead nettle or cow parsley. Carrying this talisman of spring, we began the slow walk back to the outer world.

Previously, I have experienced a feeling of loss on leaving the labyrinth – and even a premonition of loss when I reach the centre and turn my steps outwards. But today, the journey out felt like a journey towards freedom, and my final step out of the path and into the open space within the stone circle brought me a quick rush of joy.

Others also spoke of a sense of liberation on leaving the labyrinth. Some felt deeply moved by the continuity with the generations of unknown people who have connected with something of the Divine in this place.   Many were strongly drawn to the sculpture of the dancing fairies, which currently stands just outside the circle.

We closed our gathering in song and prayer, allowing the reflections and experiences of this time to take root. Then everyday life rose around us again: we shared cake and coffee, and listened as children gleefully spotted the labyrinth and started chasing each other through it.

The Three Fairies Sculpture


The Three Fairies Dancing Sculpture
Banbury-based environmental sculptor David Gosling and his son Adam have just completed a new temporary sculpture at the Rollright Stones of Three Fairies Dancing - reflecting one of the many folklore legends associated with the Stones.

Made of woven hazel, willow, ivy and lime, the work follows on from a much-admired sculpture of the Rollright witch by David Gosling and his sons.  Built in a similar style and based on the legend that the witch turned a king, his knights and army to stone, she shook her wand at the King Stone for about 18 months in 2012-13 before she succumbed to the elements.  It is hoped the Fairies will similarly continue their dance until they too get exhausted!  
David Gosling said he was delighted to have come back and been able to do another sculpture at the Stones:  “The Stones are a very special and inspiring place and a sheer delight to create sculptures there.”  
The Chairman of the Rollright Trust, George Lambrick, said the charity is always keen to welcome creative projects that help to show how the Stones have a special place in today’s world, not just a relic from the past.  “David and Adam have a deep appreciation of the Stones just as we do of their work:  it is always uplifting and this makes a very special contribution to celebrating the Trust’s 20th anniversary.”

Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing by William Blake c.1786

The sculpture is inspired by William Blake's painting Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing from A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Shakespeare may well have known the Stones as they are close to the old road from Stratford to London. Some of the numerous folklore legends date back to his day or earlier. It is said that the Fairies come out to dance round the Stones at night. They would emerge from a hole in the rock at the bottom of a former quarry by the King Stone.

The Three Fairies-Infra Red Image (image courtesy of Mel Gigg FRPS)

David Gosling is a former art teacher and sculptor who has created hundreds of works over the years, both temporary and permanent, representing a wide range of subjects and using many different materials.  Now retired, he has for some time been contemplating another sculpture at the Stones to follow the witch that he created with his sons five years ago.

Adam Gosling works a tree officer in Cardiff but studied art and has been involved in assisting David in many of his sculpture projects, including the Rollright Witch, forming a close-knit creative team.

To see more images of this sculpture, click here to go to our photo gallery.

Rollright App wins Special App Award 2017 for Cristina Mosconi


Cristina has won the 2017 'Special App Award for Young Researchers' at the Cultural Heritage and New Technologies (CHNT) 22 in Vienna, with the Rollright Stones tour guide app that she designed and produced specifically for the Rollright Stones.

Cristina reports, "The jury and the people who have tried it were very enthusiastic about it and they loved the layering approach of the contents and the simple design of the app. Maybe this is a sign [we can] proceed with the final wrap up."

The Rollright Trust 20th Anniversary celebration - Report


The Rollright Trust 20th Anniversary launch and Festival of Archaeology Event

20th Anniversary event - the displays

On Saturday the 15th July, coincidentally the first day of the national Festival of Archaeology, at Chipping Norton Theatre, over 400 people came along and enjoyed a mixture of displays, exhibits, talks and films to begin a year of archaeology related events to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Rollright Trust; the body responsible for the upkeep, protection and promotion of the Rollright Stones monuments

From 11am a steady stream of visitors wandered through the theatre, learning about the history of both the monuments and the Trust, talking to Trustees, inspecting and handling artefacts from prehistoric and Saxon times, finding out about astronomy at the monuments and the mystical art of dowsing. A series of short films running in the auditorium allowed people to relax with a hot drink or tipple from the busy bar and learn more about the Rollright Stone monuments from prehistoric times through the Shakespearean era and listen to expert opinion from professional archaeologists - ending with a wonderful animation of the Witch and King fable.

George Lambrick, chairman of the Trust formally opened proceedings and presented a talk about the Rollright Stones detailing the trials and tribulations of looking after historic places for public enjoyment. George also launched the new Rollright Stones web site and his new Rollright Stones guide book - a 'must have' for anyyone interested in local history.

20th Anniversary event

Continuing with the management theme, Ruth Peters, now in charge of nearby Chastleton House, gave everyone a terrific insight into the management of one of the UK's most interesting historic buildings. Professor of Archaeology Tim Darville from Bournemouth University gave an entertaining, comprehensive and eye opening insight into the many wonderful Cotswold Megaliths we have in the area. Professional archaeologists Annie Byard and Helena Hamerow finished the talks in style and held the audience captive with the description and update on the Saxon lady skeleton that was unearthed close to the monuments in 2015.

The evening finished with a rare showing (on the big screen) of the captivating and visually stunning documentary by Werner Herzog 'Cave of Forgotten Dreams', neatly merging the disciplines of archaeology and art together, in the perfect setting of the Theatre.

It was the most successful day the Rollright Trust could have wished for, and the level of support and interest from the public could not have been better. It was only the first of several events hosted by the Trust for its 20th anniversary celebrations, and everyone is urged to keep a close eye on the new website for all future events.

Crop Circle 2017


Crop Circle 2017

A crop circle appeared in early August this year in the field by the stone circle.

Click here and here to view videos on YouTube.

Crop Circles 2015


Somewhere about the 15th July 2015 two crop circles appeared in the wheat field between the King’s Men and the Whispering Knights.  

The larger circle is a complex design based on a five pointed star 150 ft (46 m) diameter.  The smaller design is a simple double circular formation  50-60 ft (15 m) diameter.

There are a number of theories to be found on the Internet as to the meaning of the designs: a 'golden ratio', 'golden triangle' or kite, night sky astronomy, the image of a 'bird' in the landscape or 'signs on the earth' that foretell the return of Christ.

There are some that believe that the larger crop circle was announcing the conjunction of the sun and Venus on the 14th August 2015 as can be seen in the above graphic.

For further explanations visit .

According to Wikipedia the first known recording of a crop circle was in 1678 in a news pamphlet ‘strange news out of Hartfordshire’ (see above). The scientific consensus is that crop circles are constructed by humans as a prank but we all know who was really responsible!

Saxon Burial


Bronze patera found in the Saxon grave (image courtesy of M.Sassoon)

In April 2015 a group of metal detector enthusiasts who had been given permission to search land at King Stone Farm discovered a Saxon grave only a few hundred yards from the King Stone. The detector picked up the signal of a bronze ladle or patera (see image on left). The site was then excavated and the skeleton of a Saxon female was uncovered.

News stories from the archive


Mark Rylance talks to Melvyn Bragg

In 2014 Melvyn Bragg conducted a major interview with Mark Rylance who is a patron of the Rollright Trust for the South Bank Show.  For part of their converstaion, they came to the Stones where Mark explained the important role the site has played in his thinking about use of space in drama and the special influnces such places have.  He recalled his dramatic production of the Tempest in 1992 as one of his formative experiences as a director.  Mark has since won great acclaim for his leading role in Wolf Hall and winning a best supporting actor Osacar for his part in 'Bridge of Spies' 

Filming Father Brown

Filming Father Brown at the King’s Men (image courtesy of BBC)

In the autumn 2014 the BBC set up camp at the Rollright Stones and in the field adjoining the King Stone field.  They were there to film an episode of the television period drama, Father Brown.

Dark Sky Status

View of the night sky from the Kings men stone circle

In December 2014 the quality of the night skies visible from the Rollright Stones were officially recognised when they became part of the growing number of national public sites being awarded the coveted title of 'Dark Sky Discovery'. 

The Rollright Stones Witch

The Witch (image courtesy of Ragged Robin)

In 2012, inspired by the legend of the witch and the King, the environmental artist David Gosling created a wooden sculpture of a witch.