Magazine article Geographical

Rock of Ages: For This Month's Discovering Britain Viewpoint, Laura Cole Heads to Kingston-upon-Thames to Find a Piece of Sarsen Stone with a Lot of History

Magazine article Geographical

Rock of Ages: For This Month's Discovering Britain Viewpoint, Laura Cole Heads to Kingston-upon-Thames to Find a Piece of Sarsen Stone with a Lot of History

Article excerpt

Outside the Guildhall in Kingston, some ostentatious blue railings are doing a good job of protecting what could be any old piece of rock. This two-foot tall grey slab, sat on a plinth, divides opinion as to its historical significance. Over the centuries, the stone has been a block for riders to mount their horses, a piece of a long-lost chapel, and, possibly, played a crucial part in the creation of England.

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The decoration comes from the fact that Kingston once hosted royalty. Between two to seven Saxon kings are thought to have had their coronations here during the 900s. However, it wasn't until almost a millennium later that the Victorians became convinced that this 'coronation stone' was used as a royal seat, hence its ornate memorial.

Nobody really knows for sure whether the stone was used for the ceremonies. However, more interesting is the reason Kingston was chosen as the location. During Saxon times, England was divided into multiple kingdoms and the River Thames at Kingston marked the border for two of them, Wessex and Mercia. …

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