Question answered about the large stone on Curley Hill

What’s the question I hear you ask.

In the March edition of Roundabout – the rather good parish magazine of All Saints’ Church in Lightwater – was a request ‘Do you know anything about ‘the stone’ on the top of Curley Hill? Apparently a resident, now moved away, asked the question of magazine’s editor.

Well, actually I know something about the stone.  Here’s what I wrote in reply to the question, which appears in the April edition of Roundabout. Credit to Alan Hunt for the photo.

geograph-3821004-by-Alan-Hunt… The stone is a sarsen stone – a form of dense, hard silicified sandstone. There are other similar large stones locally, such as the one in the verge of the Maultway near junction with Red Road. The stones were deposited in their locations when being pushed there in front of the advancing glaciers in the last ice age.

Tim Price’s book ‘A Hundred Years Behind the Times’ is about the history of the village of Bisley. In his book Tim says that in the mid 1800’s much such sandstone was dug out of the wet and boggy heathland and used as building material, notably to build Holy Trinity Church in West End. While still wet, and sometimes still partly under water, sandstone is easy to work. It’s only after it has dried out that it becomes as hard as brick.

In speaking with Tim Price recently he said that he has reasonably reliable evidence for the reason the stone on Curley Hill is split into two.  A celebratory bonfire in 1945 next to the stone was left to burn after everyone had left. At some time during the night the heat caused the stone to explode. What remains of the stone is about three quarters of the original stone.

3 thoughts on “Question answered about the large stone on Curley Hill

  1. When we bought our house in Macdonald Road 41 years ago, I recall the previous owners told me about going up to High Curley and having a bonfire & fireworks to celebrate their 2 sons weddings. I got the impression that this was a regular thing for villagers to do.

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  2. Don’t know if anybody else has noticed, but the house name on Bron’s newsagent is McDonald Lodge, but the road name is Macdonald. Does anybody have clues for the difference ?

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  3. There’s an amusing story about another Sarsen stone located adjacent to the Tumuli on Brentmoor Heath, a few yards from the Red Road.

    SWT have erected an Information Noticeboard about the Tumuli, and it makes reference to the Sarsen: –

    “…. easily worked when wet, and this one has examples of Neolithic Man’s hand tools marking the surface …”

    Turns out that the stone was originally located at the Red Rd/A322 junction, and unearthed when the roundabout & Bypass was constructed in the 1970’s … the then SWT Ranger wanted it transported to the Tumuli to serve as ‘local background’ … a JCB duly grabbed it in its bucket and trundled it down the track parallel to the Red Road, dropping and picking it up a couple of times … thus marking it heavily with the teeth of the JCB’s Bucket ….

    I always smile when I think of the Neanderthals operating a JCB …..

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