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The Large Stone

Have you ever noticed ...

That there is a large stone on Redland Green near the Hartington Park and Woodstock Road junction? Generations of children have used is as a base, a castle or place of refuge in games. (Incidentally my children, now teenagers, do not seem to have had words of truce for use in games, perhaps due to the influence of television. When I was at St John’s School in the 1950’s, the formula was to stand with fingers crossed and say ‘Krees’ which I presumably learnt at school rather than at home. Apparently such truce words have been mapped across England and Wales and show interesting ‘tribal’ distributions. You might like to remember whether PE shoes were known as daps, plimsolls or gym shoes before they all became trainers).

The stone has certainly been there for more than 100 years. It appears to be made of a stone unlike that found in the immediate area (i.e. it is not the white limestone or the red sandstone) and has a number of interesting hollows on its top surface. Some have seen an explanation in its proximity to the presumed line of the Roman Road from Sea Mills to Bath as a boundary marking stone or a road-side shrine where votive offerings for safe travel could be made. Nobody knows the exact line of the Roman Road from the visible remains on the Downs although its name ‘Via Julia’ appears in the tiles above Daly’s Village Market at the end of Lower Redland Road. To others it is just a piece of stone too large to be removed easily. It does seem to be suffering more damage from vandalism recently and it would be a pity to lose a possible link with ancient history.

Sat 28 Jul 2001