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Friday, 14 December 2012

The Loveston Erratic



Many thanks to Adrian for this -- it can be found on his blog here:

http://pdboyinsuffolk.blogspot.co.uk/

Adrian mentions that it is from the north, and that it is locally called "The Loving Stone" which is natural enough, given its location at Loveston Farm.  It certainly looks igneous -- but I don't recall any mention of it in the Geol Survey reports.

Much appreciate those grid references, Adrian!  I'll try to check them out one day.  Nice to see some original research being published here.......

35 comments:

Geocur said...

Adrian , pardon the pedantry ,but the difference between the point where the sun sets or rises today at the solstice and that in the Bronze Age is not due , as the chap told you and is often suggested , precession , but the obliquity of the ecliptic . The difference as I'm sure you discovered was a relatively small amount between today and 4000 years ago is half a degree of declination or just over a degree of azimuth . So it looks as if St Twynnels is pretty close to the solstice with Warren a long way off , 16August and 28 April look more likely for that church .It looks like there are two local Devils Quoits but the closest one to the NW at a declination of 24 .5 also looks close to the solstice .Pity we didn't know where the Lovestone was removed from there's no info on Coflein about this ,maybe the farmer knows a bit more .

Geocur said...

Sorry Adrian ,I had missed the part of your blog where you had possibly spoken to the farmer . Judging by the pic the stone doesn't look like that it has been lying around for centuries ,the keeling gives it away as being a likely standing stone and the descheduling was only 2007 .
Agree moving a standing stone from a churchyard seems unlikely , if it was in the way elsewhere why bring it all the way to the farm ? I disagree on a couple of minor points . I calculate the sun as going down at 309.9 degrees as seen from the HS and about 10 minutes earlier earlier ,worth bearing in mind the there is altitude difference between the two spots . This is still to the west of the church but still close but means that the orientation towards DQ is not spot on but the orientation over the stone is fine for the east end of the church .

Myris of Alexandria said...

but what are the planar structures seen on the end of the rock?
If bedding.....
Whack a piece off and section it.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

Doesn't look like bedding to me..... looks distinctly igneous. But must try to go over and have a look...

chris johnson said...

Sad to see the stone lying in this way. It would be nice to see it re-erected somewhere - I did read about it some time ago and that it had stood in the farmyard - perhaps now in the way. I'll try and find the reference but the story is as Adrian tells it.

Geocur said...

Adrian , it would be intersting to see if there is a mention of the farm name, in the Old Parish Register or elsewhere , prior to the death of William Poyer .It's a possibility , maybe likely that the farm is named after the stone and if extant prior to his death might rule out the origianl site being the church . I have had a lo0k at 19th C OS 6 inch maps of the area and can't see a mention of a stone in or around the farm or in the church .There might be a mention in the OS name book if it is available .Fwiw my guess is that the stone stood somewhere on the farmland ,not the church , it was in the way ,got shifted and was dumped at the farm .

BRIAN JOHN said...

Excuse me guys -- I may be missing something, but is there any reason at all to assume that this stone ever was standing? Most of the erratic stones littering the landscape were NOT used as standing stones, but were simply shunted into hedges, buried or broken up.

BRIAN JOHN said...

The Coflein record does not inspire confidence -- I reckon they just had a record of a stone lying in a farmyard, and eventually delisted it because they could find no proper provenance. The air photo is useless -- doesn't tell us anything.

chris johnson said...

Brian, this stone was standing. I read about it as said previously. I'll try and find the reference but I recall being convinced.

The colours on the stone would indicate to me that it has been standing until recently.

The 19th century OS map of Pembrokeshire is very inaccurate. It even has "Monachlogddu" in the wrong place.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Not sure what it is about the colours of the stone that make you think it was standing.......

Ah, those old OS maps. Just as bad as the wonderful new Apple map which was supposed to be an improvement on Google maps and led to total chaos worldwide....

Geocur said...

Brian , there are quarries in the area , it may have been a building stone from these .It may have be the reason for the farm but we don't know if they predate the farm name . There is no evidence from the OS maps that there was ever another stone apart from those recorded standing in the area and limited mentions of it I have seen are not too informative . However it it looks like it is keeled , looks like a standing stone , looks like it has been moved to it's present position , the farm may have been named after it are all that suggest it may have been a standing . If it was standing I don't believe it was ever in the area of churchyard in the historical period .

Geocur said...

Don't knock the old large scale OS maps ,a mine of accurate information and not to be compared with an apple app . Many a time they have pointed out the site of a standing stone that now sits in a hedge or solved similar problems . A good local example is at Trefael where there were quite a few stones in the area , all gone except the cup marked boulder and one at a field boundary , it was the maps that showed where it had stood originally ,a little excavation would easily verify that as opposed to extensive geofizz .

BRIAN JOHN said...

Yes, I agree with you Geo that we must not knock the old OS maps. I have used them often and they are indeed a mine of information. Thinking of old quarries, the old quarries in the Castlemartin area were almost all limestone quarries -- this big stone just might be limestone, but it doesn't look like it.

Geocur said...

It certainly doesn't look like it has been at the present poition that long ,you might expect more uniform colouring ,possibly more lichen , moss even some soil and grass not just one horseshoe . Having a closer look the bottom right doesn't look like keeling or even spalling but more likely a lump knocked off .

BRIAN JOHN said...

... probably it's been shoved around the farmyard whenever it has got in the way of some project or other...

Anonymous said...

Relationship to the celestial equator

Main article: Axial tilt

The plane of the Earth's orbit projected in all directions forms the reference plane known as the ecliptic. Here, it is shown projected outward (gray) to the celestial sphere, along with the Earth's equator and polar axis (green). The plane of the ecliptic intersects the celestial sphere along a great circle (black), the same circle on which the Sun seems to move as the Earth orbits it. The intersections of the ecliptic and the equator on the celestial sphere are the vernal and autumnal equinoxes (red), where the Sun seems to cross the celestial equator.

As the rotational axis of the Earth is not perpendicular to its orbital plane, the Earth's equatorial plane is not coplanar with the ecliptic plane, but is inclined to it by an angle of about 23°.4, which is known as the obliquity of the ecliptic. [6] If the equator is projected outward to the celestial sphere, forming the celestial equator, it crosses the ecliptic at two points known as the equinoxes. The Sun, in its apparent motion along the ecliptic, crosses the celestial equator at these points, one from south to north, the other from north to south.[3] The crossing from south to north is known as the vernal equinox, also known as the first point of Aries and the ascending node of the ecliptic on the celestial equator.[7] The crossing from north to south is the autumnal equinox or descending node.

Main article: Axial precession (astronomy)

The orientation of the Earth's axis and equator are not fixed in space, but rotate about the poles of the ecliptic with a period of about 26,000 years, a process known as lunisolar precession, as it is due mostly to the gravitational effect of the Moon and Sun on the Earth's equatorial bulge. Likewise, the ecliptic itself is not fixed. The gravitational perturbations of the other bodies of the Solar System cause a much smaller motion of the plane of the Earth's orbit, and hence of the ecliptic, known as planetary precession. The combined action of these two motions is called general precession, and changes the position of the equinoxes by about 50 arc seconds (about 0°.014) per year.[8]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecliptic

BRIAN JOHN said...

Not at all sure what this has to do with an erratic lying in a farmyard, but just this once I'll be indulgent and allow it.....

Adrian James said...

It was good to read the comments re: Loveston and the alignments suggested in my Blog. I will try and answer the questions/ideas put forward, however I am still dazed after Christmas shopping in Ipswich!

Thanks to Geocur for the comments and corrections. If (and a big if) prehistoric man did erect the monuments under discussion in an alignment towards the sunset at summer solstice, It would have been on an “Eye Ball Mk I” basis and not to the precision we expect nowadays with theodolites and GPS. I find the example I have investigated interesting in that it seems to challenge coincidence. I will discuss the chain of questioning in more detail on my blog in the future.

Thanks too for reworking the calculations for the sunset. I will give it another go soon!
To turn to the Loving Stone itself. I have not seen it for several years, but I do recall that there seemed to be a chunk broken off one end of it, with a very flat (planar?) break. I do have other photos of the stone somewhere, but have not been able to trace them. In my limited geological experience the Loving Stone seems to be similar in makeup to the Devils Quoit at Samson. It does not surprise me that it seems to have little evidence of lichen and moss etc, as being in the middle of the yard it would have people sitting/lying on it, cattle pushing and rubbing against it etc. Come to think of it, the Devil’s Quoit seems surprisingly bald too! One way that many erratics stand out on the limestone of Castlemartin is that the lichen growth on them is very different (hairy grey) to the white and orange encrustations that take hold on limestone. I will post some pics of some other erratics on the limestone on my blog in the near future.

More to follow......

Adrian James said...

How long has Loveston (the farm and building) been around? B.G Charles (The Place-names of Pembrokeshire) has traced references for the farm back to 1521. The holding has always been one of high standing, often being tenanted/owned by minor S. Pembs gentry and latterly (post 1790) those held in high regard by Earl Cawdor. I think that the farm’s name was transferred to the stone, rather than vice-versa. Looking in the original OS surveyor’s field book/s is a very good idea! I shall interrogate the Charles Close Society’s experts about this before looking the books up.

Was the stone ever in the churchyard at St Twynnells? William Poyer tells us that there was Longstone in the east end of the churchyard. It is not there now. The church was renovated in the mid nineteenth century and this would have been an opportunity to have a clear out of the churchyard. St Twynnells church, in common with most of the others on the Stackpole Estate, was in a very poor state of repair prior to this. Was the “Longstone” moved at the time of the renovations? Why move it to the farmyard? On balance, I think that it was moved at the time of the renovations.

The tenants at Loveston seem to have been very near, if not at the top, of the pecking order within the parish congregation. They had seats, with the tenant of Lysserry and the vicar at the front of the church, near the reading desk. The “seating plan” of 1858 clearly demonstrates the hierarchy of the congregation, with lesser tenants within the parish sitting nearer the back of the church. I suspect that the tenants at Loveston were Churchwardens certainly later generations were, and are commemorated in the stained glass of the church.

The tenement of Loveston included all the land due south of St Twynnells church, including the land which the modern road from the church, running south-west and then south to the farm. The main East-West road, which is such a dominant feature of the area, and runs directly past Loveston was built in c.1822, to link Stackpole Court with Brownslade. The road from the church was realigned at some point after 1782, probably at the instigation of the tenants of Loveston, who were in charge of such parochial matters!

Why mention all this? The new road would have enabled the stone to have been moved to the farm relatively easily at the time of the renovations. The Loveston tenants were well equipped to undertake the task and placing the stone in the farmyard might well have assuaged local superstitions of gloom and doom!

How is that for speculation! Discuss!



Anonymous said...

I'm extremely dubious about using uniform colourings or lichen growth as indicators of lack of movement. There are many cave entrances in western Mendip that contain large deposits of thermoclastic scree, spalled from the cave walls. These deposits are currently within the daylight zone and must have a minimum age of the "Younger Dryas"

The scree is cleanwashed with no lichen or vegetation growth whatsoever?.
In one empirical mind AMG

Furthermore most of the insitu rocks, cliffs, mountains that I've ever climbed/walked on have never had a uniform covering of lichen/greenery either.



Geocur said...

Brian , the wiki article was almost certainly from RJL who has a problem understanding ,among many other concepts , precession , fortunately Adrian will also be on hand to confirm that the difference between a solstice or an equinox in the 21st C and 4000 years ago amounts to very little . RJL never actually gives any figures or attempts to explain when asked , can't distinguish between the various types of precession and doesn't realise that what matters in the shift of lunar and solar orienations on the horizon over long periods is not precession but obliquity . It is a common mistake as seen by the commnet from the chap in Adrian's audience but a little time spent reading and thinking about it migh solve the problem as it is not particaulrly difficult .A failure to respond to the last post , a simplified version here http://brian-mountainman.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/hautvilles-quoit.html says it all .

Geocur said...

Anon , in my experience of walking ,climbing and scrambling it is rare to encounter scree that has not been affected by lichen or discoloured , even the great stone chute of Sgurr Alasdair with it’s daily trampers will provide lichen on all but the most recently dislodged . Comparing more recently exposed rocks e.g. those dug up for drainage or the creation of hill tracks of a similar size to the Lovestone stone , with geologically similar stones that have been exposed for millennia shows different colour and lichens /mosses . The main point was that the stone does not look like it has been in it’s present position very long , for various reasons ,also I actually said “possibly more lichen “ .

chris johnson said...

Geo, the photo is several yeasr old. Perhaps the stone has been destroyed since.

Geocur said...

Adrian , in terms of the possibility of an astronomical relationship between the stones the Devils Quoit to Harold Stone might be preferable in that it provides as accurate a declination bt does not have the problem of the higher horizon behind the DQ this would however exclude the need for the stone at St Twynells . I agree it needn't be ,the major examples are not that pinpoint accurate either . Two possible reasons for the small discrepancies in our calc is that the sun set is at an alt of 0.4 and map based azimuths need to take into account the grid north /truth north differential .
Interesting to that you note the lichen on the erratics plus there is the change in colour from exposure .
So the name Loveston predates the Poyer ,agree the farm could have given it's name to the stone although there are examples of farm taking it's name from a stone(s) ton is also a common suffix for a collection of rural buildings associated with a farm, in Scotland it's often “toun” .
If a stone was removed from the churchyard in the mid 18th C it might be recorded in the parish minutes/session .
Chris et al , I have just come across a mention of the stone being destroyed in the second half of the 19 th C .
http://www.experiencepembrokeshire.com/history-archaeology/community-heritage/jeffreyston . Some salt necessary but it might be true and certainly worth investigating .
Do we know for sure that the stone in the yard is the original ?

Adrian James said...

Geocur, thanks again for the comments. Confusingly there is another Loveston in Pembrokeshire! Your link to the information about the stone supposedly destroyed in the nineteenth century refers to the "other" Loveston, which is several miles further east. Its church is at: SN08410847. You also mention the discrepencies in our calculations - I think I might haev made an error with Grid, True and Magnetic North. I will have to work it through again soon.

Geocur said...

Sorry Adrian , I should have noticed that about that being another stone , pretty obvious .

Adrian James said...

...and the other thing I meant to say was that the alignment Harold Stone - Devils Quoit - East End St T's Churchyard is very clear cut when you actually sit against the Harold Stone. Whether the alignment is by design, or fluke is the question! If the solstice sunset fits, then I begin to doubt coincidence, even though I would find the whole thing incredible! Then the use of the erratics to build the alignment becomes really interesting.

Geocur said...

Adrian , the problem in archaeoastronomy once you have found a possible "alignment" is proving intentionality .Stonehenge ,passage graves etc are usually accepted as being intentional simoply by the obvious indication found in the architecture and also involving multi- components of that indication .Two standing stones are more difficult to argue for . If there was proof of a third at the church then there would be a much stronger case particularly as the church site is on the horizon and the Devils Quoit isn't .

Adrian James said...

Geo....there is proof of a third at St. T's, and that is the testimony of Willima Poyer in his will. He asks to be buried by the Longstone at the East end of the churchyard, as per the extract I reproduce in my blog. The discovery of this will came several years after my thought that the two stones may be aligned on the solstice sunset (still debatable), BUT the two existing stones DO align on the east end of the churchyard, and IF this is related to the solstice is just icing on the cake. To have the three stones in a line, wit the "third" being on the horizon as viewed fromm the "first" (Harold Stone) AND the fact that the Harold Stone seems to have been so placed and orientede as to encourage the sitter to look along this alignment is reminds me of an Indiana Jones movie! So unlikely as to be unbelievable, yet....
I think that Brian may not be best pleased by this discussion - we are drifting off the geological - yet to know what the Longstone in the churchyard was is important.
If there were but two Standing Stones here, I agree, it is little but circumstantial, but there are THREE. That makes it very interesting!

Geocur said...

Adrian ,there may have been a standing stone at the church .But I would need more than the comments in the Poyer will about a long stone to convince me that there was another standing stone at the church .

chris johnson said...

I wonder if the Harold Stone is not simply a landmark pointing the way down to the ford and the path to Stackpole Quay?

The Quay is one of the few places along this coast, perhaps even the only place, where you can bring a boat to load and unload at all tides.



Adrian James said...

Brian,

I have been back to Lveston and explored a bit further! I have uploaded better views of the stone in the yard:

http://pdboyinsuffolk.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-loveston-erratic-revisited.html

Thanks

Adrian

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thanks for that, Adrian. From your excellent pictures, it looks like a typical glacial erratic, rather well smoothed on the edges. Just looking at it as it is, I would doubt whether it ever has been used as a standing stone -- doesn't look a very convenient shape for sticking vertically into the ground.

Adrian James said...

Brian,

Do you think the end has been sawn off? I have some pictures of some other erratics that I will put together in a post soon. A bonus from the visit to the farm was finding the remains of a late medieval house hidden under ivy and a cow shed!

Thanks for the comments

Adrian

Adrian James said...

Brian,

Some more erratics here....
http://pdboyinsuffolk.blogspot.com/2013/01/other-erratics-around-castlemartin.html

thanks

Adrian