The Blaxhall Stone – Blaxhall, England - Atlas Obscura

The Blaxhall Stone

Blaxhall, England

Blaxhall's burgeoning boulder can't help putting on a few extra stones. 


Lying a stone’s throw from the appropriately named Stone Farm in Blaxhall is a large boulder with an ever-growing tale to tell. Local legend claims the Blaxhall Stone has been swelling to an ever-greater size since at least the 19th-century.

Legend tells how a plowman, after hitting the rock while working his field, moved the stone outside his house to avoid it inconveniencing his daily fieldwork. At the time, it was apparently only the size of his two fists, comparable to a small loaf of bread. However, months later it had become much larger. Although no photos exist of its original modest size, it’s said years later a cat was able to pass beneath the growing lip of the stone.

Today the stone weighs nearly five tons and stands out amid the flat and rockless landscape of Suffolk. Geologists believe the sandstone boulder was carried south from Lincolnshire by glacial movement 150,000 years ago. Although many believed the boulder sprouted from the earth and grew over time. 

This assumption was not an uncommon one amongst the residents of East Anglia, who thought much like potatoes, stones would grow if placed in moist soil. This belief caused panic in the Essex village of Magdalen Laver when it was feared a stone that lay in the village’s riverbed would grow too large and cause flooding. The fear was so great that locals took it upon themselves to smash the rock in 1914 to avoid a watery disaster.

Such assumptions may seem naive and unfounded, yet in Romania, the curious Trovants are a popular attraction. These “living stones” absorb minerals found in the rain that weathers them, which then reacts in such a way that creates pressure within the rock. This causes the stones to gain size and mass. However, this process does take several thousands of years to add just a few centimeters of growth. 

Even now, the village of Blaxhall still takes pride in its legendary burgeoning boulder.

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July 17, 2020

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