Ancient Monuments

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White Horse Stone, Aylesford

A Scheduled Monument in Aylesford, Kent

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.315 / 51°18'54"N

Longitude: 0.5149 / 0°30'53"E

OS Eastings: 575358.020003

OS Northings: 160323.981169

OS Grid: TQ753603

Mapcode National: GBR PQM.JZ6

Mapcode Global: VHJM6.W61R

Entry Name: White Horse Stone, Aylesford

Scheduled Date: 4 December 1924

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005181

English Heritage Legacy ID: KE 17

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Aylesford

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Church of England Parish: Aylesford St Peter and St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Rochester

Summary

White Horse Stone, 595m south-east of The Lower Bell

Source: Historic England

Details

This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 19 June 2014. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a prehistoric standing stone situated on a chalk spur below an escarpment of the North Downs, south of Chatham. The stone is situated next to the North Downs Way, a trackway following the ridge of the North Downs escarpment, which is traditionally associated with a pilgrim route to Canterbury.

White Horse Stone is a large upright sarsen stone about 1.65m high, 2.9m long and 0.60m thick. There are several smaller stones to the west of the monument. It has been suggested that it may originally have formed part of a Neolithic burial chamber but this is uncertain. The stone is variously known as the White Horse Stone or Upper White Horse Stone. It has inherited the traditions of a second stone, referred to variously as the White Horse Stone, Lower White Horse Stone or Kentish Standard Stone which was located approximately 300m to the west, and was destroyed about 1823. The name of the stone has been associated with several traditions including the possibility that early antiquarians likened its shape to that of a horse.

In 1997-8, partial excavation was carried out near the site following an evaluation for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. The features uncovered included a Neolithic longhouse and the remains of Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age occupation. The finds included a cremation deposit, three human pit burials, postholes, pottery, animal bones, flint, iron blades, four iron awls and a whetstone. In addition medieval remains, including a 13th century corn drying or malting kiln, were found in association with the North Downs Way.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Standing stones are prehistoric ritual or ceremonial monuments with dates ranging from the Late Neolithic to the end of the Bronze Age for the few excavated examples. They comprise single or paired upright orthostatic slabs, ranging from under lm to over 6m high where still erect. They are often conspicuously sited and close to other contemporary monument classes. They can be accompanied by various features: many occur in or on the edge of round barrows, and where excavated, associated subsurface features have included stone cists, stone settings, and various pits and hollows filled in with earth containing human bone, cremations, charcoal, flints, pots and pot sherds. Similar deposits have been found in excavated sockets for standing stones, which range considerably in depth. Several standing stones also bear cup and ring marks. Standing stones may have functioned as markers for routeways, territories, graves, or meeting points, but their accompanying features show they also bore a ritual function and that they form one of several ritual monument classes of their period that often contain a deposit of cremation and domestic debris as an integral component. No national survey of standing stones has been undertaken, and estimates range from 50 to 250 extant examples, widely distributed throughout England but with concentrations in Cornwall, the North Yorkshire Moors, Cumbria, Derbyshire and the Cotswolds. Standing stones are important as nationally rare monuments, with a high longevity and demonstrating the diversity of ritual practices in the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age. Consequently all undisturbed standing stones and those which represent the main range of types and locations would normally be considered to be of national importance.

The White Horse Stone is a good example of its type, which survives well. The area immediately surrounding the stone is likely to contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the stone and the landscape in which it was erected.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Kent HER TQ 76 SE 57, TQ 76 SE 59, TQ 76 SE 61, TQ 76 SE 60. NMR TQ76SE11, TQ76SE12. PastScape 416372, 416377,

Source: Historic England

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