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Longstone

Near the village of Mottistone can be found the site of the Long Stone. The Long Stone is without doubt one of the finest ancient sites on the Island. Most people believe that the Long Stone is a single megalithic stone, but in fact it is two large stones which form part of a long barrow complex. The long barrow is now only just discernible as a nearby mound; it was confirmed in the 1950s that the mound was a long barrow when excavations uncovered an ancient perimeter ditch and some Neolithic pottery remains.

Some books state that the stones are made of a rock which does not occur in the local geology, but this has now been proven false - the stone was excavated from somewhere near by.

The name of Mottistone is derived from the Long Stone. In Old English the word Mottistone can be seen as mottra ston , which translates into modern language as the speaker's stone.

The stones have had a colourful history, most of which has been partly or completely lost. We do not know for certain when the stones were erected as even the experts have vastly different dates, and much of the history of the stones is only preserved in legend. As the site was confirmed as a long barrow it may be one of the earliest examples in the ancient British sites. The following is as far as I can make out a good rough guide, but note that I do not present this as concrete fact, and would welcome any information or debate on the subject.

It is probable that the site was used for religious activities or some type of earth mysteries before the barrow was erected as I suggest that barrows were built in significant sites rather than at random locations. The Long Stone was erected by the earliest farmers as the marker to a long barrow around five or six thousand years ago (some say it is the remains of a burial chamber). In the times of the early Celts the Druids used the area of the stone as the central of their three principle Island sites - the others being the lost stone capped well at Brading and the fallen Needle Rock. At the time of the Roman occupation of the Island the stones were used by the Mithras Cult for their white bull mystery ceremonies. There is reason to think that cult members would come to the Island for their rites from all over England. The Norse invaders used the site for debate, and it was possibly used as a local 'parliament' (this is where the Old English comes from). Later the stones were used again (and still are used) by various nature based religions, who generally speaking see the two stones as representing their God and Goddess.

The smaller of the two stones was possibly moved in Victorian times. I feel it is possible that this stone was also vertical for most of it's history, as there are horizontal grooves in the stone that could have been eroded by rainfall.

In line with most other significant ancient sites the Long Stone attracts from time to time various 'undesirables' who abuse the site. If you visit the stones please take care of the whole site. , not just the stones. Remember that the Long Stone is part of the ancient heritage of the Island.

To get to the Long Stone go up the footpath that starts on the main road to the west of Mottistone Manor. Where the path forks take the right one. Why not visit the stones and feel for yourself the power they hold. Sit by the stones and reflect on the ancient heritage of the Island and try to imagine the people who have used the stones over the millennia.