The tallest megalith in Britain

Rudston monolith. Pic: Stephen Horncastle

Rudston monolith. Pic: Stephen Horncastle

Stonehenge may contain Britain’s most famous ancient standing stones, but few people are aware of Britain’s tallest. Read on to find out more about the Rudston Monolith in Yorkshire, UK.

The Rudston Monolith is the tallest ancient standing stone in the United Kingdom. It can be viewed in the graveyard of Rudston Parish Church of All Saints, East Riding, Yorkshire.

The monolith is believed to have been errected around 1600 BC. It’s 7.6 metres tall, above ground.

It seems to be less well known because a church has been built on the same site, overshadowing it. There are stories that the stone was converted into a cross.

Rudston Monolith. Pic: Paul Allison

Rudston Monolith. Pic: Paul Allison

Experts believe that the Rudston landscape was once a centre of Neolithic / Bronze Age activity and that the megalith could be a marker of a sacred space. Nearby there are four cursuses – areas which may have been used for rites-of-passage events.

Or as Julian Cope dramatically puts it: “Back in 2500 BC, this 25’ tall pillar was the terminus and focal point of four ceremonial earthen avenues, all hundreds of metres long. This huge megalithic complex – the Avebury of its area – represented the upland area known as the Yorkshire Wolds, this last word connoting exactly the same meaning as ‘world’.”

The second tallest tallest standing stone in the UK can also be found in Yorkshire – it’s a seven metre high monolith at the southern end of the ‘Devil’s Arrows’, Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire.

Page published: 14th October 2010

See also

Extrageographic: Best preserved megalithic site, Wales
Rudston Monolith – Wikipedia
Julian Cope – Rudston
Rudston – themodernantiquarian.com
Picture credit. Rudston Monolith by Stephen Horncastle
Picture credit. Rudston Monolith by Paul Allison
Devil’s Arrows

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