Longstone of Minchinhampton – Gloucestershire, England - Atlas Obscura
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Gloucestershire, England

Longstone of Minchinhampton

Local lore says passing infants through its holes could magically cure them of measles and rickets. 

Cloaked with lichen and peppered with holes, this standing stone looks like a giant, solidified kitchen sponge. Its appearance is indeed unusual, as is its purported ability to magically heal human infants.

The 7.5-foot-tall standing stone towers over the field. As with many of the standing stones scattered throughout the United Kingdom, its past is mysterious. Some theories claim it marks the burial spot of a Danish ruler, while others propose it was once involved in an ancient battle, in which soldiers shot their arrows through its many holes.

But even more mysterious than its origins are the bits of local lore attached to the prehistoric limestone structure. According to tradition, passing infants through the stone’s holes could cure them of ailments like measles, whooping cough, or rickets. An additional myth holds that when the nearby church bells ring at midnight, the stone uproots itself to frolic and dance around the field.

There are other stones in the area, though these are less legendary. A fallen standing stone has been incorporated into the stone wall lining the field, which is believed to have once been a companion to this monolith.

Know Before You Go

Follow the road South East for approximately from Minchinhampton to Avening. The stone is in a field adjacent to the road and is clearly visible through a gate. Look out for the other stone built into the wall.