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The Rudston Monolith

Standing in the Norman churchyard of All Saints Church, the Rudston Monolith is the highest standing stone in Great Britain at 7.6m (25ft) with a 5m circumference and an estimated weight of 40 Tonnes.

An experiment run by William Strickland in the 18th century suggests the stone may extend underground to a similar depth as it high above ground.

The stone is made from Moor Grit Conglomerate which probably came from Cayton Bay about 10 miles to the north or the Cleveland Hills. The stone which now has a protective lead cap on top of its tip, was probably erected around 1600BC and may have been the reason Rudston got its name. In Old English Rudston implies Rood-stane or Cross-stone.

It certainly pre-dates the church that was built next to it, but this could indicate the religious importance placed on the stone. There is a fairly recent theory that there may be fossilised dinosaur footprints on one side of the stone.

The Rudston Monolith is associated with several legends. In one it was thrown by the Devil at the church but his aim was of as usual and it landed in the churchyard. This is a common legend attached to many churches throughout Britain. It is also said to have fell from the sky to kill people who were going to desecrate the churchyard.

Image Copyright: 
Gemma Haller

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