Bradford Graves


        Home Memorial Sculpture Park Gallery Biography Contact Photos


England and stone - - I've always thought of them as one. Perhaps

one reason for this long association is that the British Isles

themselves are stones rising out of the water. To be in England is to

feel the stones beneath one's feet.

England and stone - - the relationship has been a healthy one.

Whatever man has done with stone it's always been used in an

inquisitive state about man's spiritual state with the earth and the

earth's larger home, the universe, in a way free of superstitions.

Man did not feel impelled to alter stone into his own image, as the

Egyptians did, boxed in pyramids for his physical body, or as the Greeks did by cutting stone into

narcissistic images to grace temples. No, in England stone could be free standing in nature's

elements, and represent all of man's aspirations, by extending forms into space beyond man's own

dimensions and imagery.

Not St. Peter's with its round of stone Popes, or giant statues of Pharaohs long lost in the sans, but

always simple undressed stone. Even the CVorontation stone in Westminster Abbey was to confer

wisdom on kings but was never used by kings as an emblem of king's powers. The king was still

nothing compared to the stone. "The Stone is quite impersonal. I can get no history from it. It has no

power to absorb earth radiations, and is in a constant state of transmission of cosmic energy." 19

So said a psychometrist in the presence of stone.


Standing stones & circles of pre-history

Archaic crosses and carvings

Ancient buildings and other stone structures

Hill figures


Trackways and leys

All the concepts are found in England. The earthworks are huge mounds of

earth constructed to alter or enhance the currents of natural energies that

flowed through the body of the earth, according to one theory. The largest

mound in Europe is found in England. Called "Sibury", it is 130 feet high and

covers an area of 5 1/4 acres. Its purpose still remains a mystery but in a

recent investigation it was found to contain small groups of up to four stones.

The most impressive use of standing stones and the circles are Stonehenge

and Avebury. Both are thought to represent a solar and moon temple where

movements of the heavenly bodies were predicated. Many individual standing

stones exist, and some are found situation within the complex of earth works, some carried to a

sacred location and others left where nature had brought them. Almost all of them have been given

some unique shape by nature.

The crosses differ greatly from standing stones in that man has given them their shape. There have

been some kept to their original shapes, but covered with petroglyphs. The symbols chipped on the

surface are the oldest written records of man. The early ones show symbols and only later do they

show letters and words. Again, nothing is known of the meanings of the early symbols given the name

of "cup and ring" marks. The association usually given is to the stars due to

their nebula formation and the optical impression given thereby.

The ancient buildings of stones were either underground chambers lined with

stones called "weems" or round towers called "brochs." The underground

chambers were thought to be rooms where the earth's energies were focused

benefiting the occupants. Less is known about the round towers, but they may,

as with the weems, act as a magnifier of the earth's energy.

The Hill figures can be found on hill slopes. One of them, the Uffington white

horse, measures 360 feet wide, so that the best vantage point of sighting is from

the air. Cut into the soft stone chalk, some were re-cleaned over the years while

others have been allowed to become overgrown. What purpose they serve is still a mystery; perhaps

they were only land markings, while some believe that they are related to worship of the sun.

At one time, maxes were found all over Britain, but most of them have disappeared, having been plowed over. One such maze, constructed of

small stones, still exists. It is named Camperdizil Point, which can translate as "Sunwise Motion" and may denote a connection with sun worship.

One of the strangest uses of stones has been as markers for what are called Leys. If you take any survey map of Britain, circle sacred locations

such as standing stones, earth works, churches, anything which is very sacred, you will find, by running straight lines through the circles, that

they will align. These alignments are thought by some to be a notation of the earth's energy moving across the land.

Listed very briefly, these are some of the uses of stone found in ancient Britain. I could have gone into greater detail, but I feel it has already been

done, and done well, in books such as Mysterious Britain. What I wonder about is the overall fabric of stone. What purposes did all of this

symbolism serve? Some of the wilder guesses I haven't mentioned go into the leys being used to levitate the stone at stonehenge, or the Hill

Figures being used as land markers for flying objects from other worlds, in much the same way as a lighthouse is used to guide ships to safety.

Landing strips.

I don't know the reasons, but I do marvel that they exist and wonder at their uses. I do feel, however, that they connote peacefulness, and a

respect for the earth and her materials.

Why are the uses of stone so numerous and seemingly unique to the British Isles? Perhaps such structures will be found in other countries. It

may be that they are only better preserved in England. England, unlike most other countries, has suffered little from invading forces.

If Egypt hadn't been centered on the crossroads of Asia and Africa, it too may have told more of its relationship to stone other than the ones that

have remained. And, if the Incas had not been destroyed by the Spanish, what would have been found there?

Such as it is, England is unique; it seems to embody so many mysteries. Mysteries built upon man's thoughtfulness rather than his fears.

>> Next

19. Bord, Janet and Colin. Mysterious Britain. Doubleday & Company, Inc. New York: 1973. p. 31


A Legacy Carved in Stone



Taking the Side of Things

Omphalos and Lapis Manalis



The Stones of Camus

Twentieth Century Stone Sculpture

Richardson 's Original Monster Rock


Robert Smithson

The Moon Gets its Rocks off on Earth

In Praise of Limestone

Essay by Laura Welikson








Brad's Writings 

Selected Essays