Geology Site Account
Beauchamp Roding Sarsen stone, BEAUCHAMP RODING , Epping Forest District, TL57790972, Potential Local Geological Site
Site name: Beauchamp Roding Sarsen stone
Grid reference: TL 5779 0972
Brief description of site:
Large sarsen stone in the churchyard of St. Botolph's Church.
On the top of the hill, in the churchyard of St. Botolph's Church is an upright sarsen stone (120cm x 110cm x 30cm in size) with veins of flint pebbles running through it (Salter 1914; Rudge 1962). Many superstitions are associated with this stone and it has therefore been cited in articles and books more often than any other sarsen in Essex. The stone was originally lying flat and Salter gives a size of 160cm x 130cm x 30cm indicating that a substantial portion is now below ground.
Sarsens are extremely hard boulders of sandstone formed around 55 million years ago when the climate of Britain was hot and a layer of sand beneath the surface of the ground became cemented with quartz. They are thus very resistant to erosion and have survived the rigours of the Ice Age. They originated on the chalk downland north and west of Essex and were carried here by rivers and glaciers. After retreat of the ice they became concentrated in river valleys.
The formation of silcretes (which includes sarsens and puddingstones) has been the subject of recent scientific debate. Research has compared the conditions under which sarsens and puddingstones may have been formed with the present day climate in the Kalahari Desert and parts of Australia.
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Reference: Salter 1914, Rudge (E.A.) 1962
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