Thursday, October 1, 2009

Alphamstone Stone Circle

St.Barnabas church

I had forgotten about this stone circle on the boundary between Suffolk and Essex. The county of Essex has been accurately described as a megalithic desert it does have pudding stones around and they may heark back to prehistoric times but Alphamstone has the church of St.Barnabas and seven sarsen stones, though I'm not sure the two in the church foundations are counted, so it may make it nine.

Bronze age burial urns have been found and also Roman material, and it has the classic signs of a church built on a high rise above a river, the Stour being the river in this case.

Sarsen is unusual for Essex, and the stones must have come from the river gravel of the Stour, being dragged up the hill to the site of the church.

The village or hamlet of Alphamstone is approached through a maze of lanes, and the church tower wooden spired. The two stones sunk deep in the foundation can be viewed from inside the church, one having a peculiar texture. The other stones are under the hedge, and can hardly be described as awesome, small and oddly shaped they have signs of rounded, probably root marks on their surfaces.

Flint filling to old archway

Stone 1 inside the church

Stone 2 inside the church

Looking down to Stour River

Church yard

Stone under hedge

Stone by buttress

The church sits in a very peaceful and tranquil setting, and in the literature it is said to be built on a Bronze Age barrow, similar of course to the previously mentioned St.Arild's church.

The story goes that a Saxon called Aelfham came in search of a rich land which would be fertile, he climbed up the hill, presumably to the barrow, and at his feet lay a stone, and he then claimed the hill as his own, and the stone as totem of his clan; a mark of his homestead and that is how it became known as Aelfham's Tun.


  1. Enjoy your blog immensely--read it often---wish I could visit all the wonderful places that you write about.


  2. Thank you for that, don't really travel that much but I do like to record stuff, even though churches can get boring sometimes.

  3. Have you any info on the relationship between these Alphamstone "standing stones" and the cursus east of Bures that nearly "points" toward the Alph. church. I often walk in this area and wish I knew more about the history/archeology. It seems very mysterious

  4. No information, we are a long way from Alphamstone. But if I find any information will get back to you.

  5. Two links from the Megalithic Portal, Isee there is 4 kilometres between Alphamstone and the cursus,so I am not sure.