White Hart Crest of the Royal County of Berkshire David Nash Ford's Royal Berkshire History

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The Blowing Stone, Kingston Lisle, Berkshire (Oxfordshire) - © Nash Ford PublishingThe Blowing Stone
Royal Saxon Trumpet

The Blowing Stone is a 3ft tall hunk of sarsen, pierced with a number of holes, from one of which issues a Y-shaped channel within. It is first recorded on Roque’s map of 1761. If you are able to close the hole completely with your mouth and blow, it will resonate something like a calf's bellow across the Downs. It can apparently be heard as far away as Faringdon Church (six miles distant). Legend says it once stood high up on Kingstone Down and was used by King Alfred the Great to call the local militia to fight at the Battle of Ashdown - said to have taken place at nearby Roughthorn Farm, though it probably occurred in either Compton/East Ilsley or Aldworth/Aston. The story is unlikely to be true, but Cooper King suggested, in 1887, that it may have been a sacred Celtic stone used by the local Iron Age tribe in a similar manner. The parish smith brought the stone down into the valley, probably sometime in the early 18th century, and set it up adjoining his smithy. By 1809, this building had become the 'Blowing Stone Inn' and the landlord entertained his customers by blowing the stone, for a small price! A second inn of this name now exists in the village of Kingston Lisle.


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