All Saints churchyard in Rudston, East Yorkshire is home to Britain’s tallest, prehistoric standing stone. It’s a bit of a mystery why the stone is relatively unknown. The times I’ve visited, I’ve been the only person in the churchyard. The stone stands about 8 metres high, is nearly 2 metres wide and is estimated to weigh about 40 tonnes. An excavation at the site in the late 18th century suggested that the depth of the stone below the ground is as great as its height.
This giant block of grey sandstone/gritstone was thought to have been quarried in either the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age at Cayton Bay (the nearest source of this type of stone). The stone would then have been brought the 10 miles to Rudston. However, this is not proved and is just conjecture.
Another explanation is that it may just have been brought naturally to the site as a glacial erratic.
Whichever way the stone arrived, to stand the stone upright is an incredible feat of engineering skill and human effort for the late Neolithic or Bronze Age.
The Norman churchyard of All Saints that the stone stands in, is some 3000 years younger than the stone. It seems likely that the stone marked some sort of prehistoric, pagan religious site. Christian churches were often built on existing sacred places.
The sight of this massive stone, sitting amongst the gravestones, is definitely worth a visit if you are nearby.
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