Hemlock Stone : A prehistoric rock that is 28 feet tall located in Nottinghamshire is a landmark in the area over “thousands of years” and was formed within a desert-like landscape.
Hemlock Stone located in Stapleford Hill dates back more than 200 million years up to Triassic period. A historical historian from the area has been spending years investigating its history.
Frank Earp, who has previously collaborated for the University of Nottingham to examine the rock’s history, grew in nearby Wollaton as well as spending over 50 years studying the rock.
The folklore historian took part in studies that established the rock to be natural and not an epoch of old quarrying, as was previously believed.
Mr Earp, who is 70 and is part of the Three Stones Project at the Nottinghamshire Hidden Histories Team, stated: “We did a geological study of the rock about five years ago, and it’s definitely a natural characteristic. It’s an Triassic rock that was weathered by the end of the ice age about 2 million years ago.
“The reason why it has its shape has to do with the fact that the top portion has a substance embedded within it (barytes) which makes it more difficult to work with as compared to the lower. Therefore, the bottom is more susceptible to erosion than the to the top, and eventually it will topple over.
“It was a significant landmark and has been so for many thousands of years. It’s also a source of mythology and legend, the primary legend is that it was to be thrown by the devil after an oath a monk made against him.
“Obviously it’s not the case, but it was a method to romanticize the rock. It’s also made from sandstone. However, the rock in Lenton Priory would have been limestone.
“That legend dates back to Lenton Priory, founded by William Peverel, which was founded in the 1100s.”
The rock was believed to have fallen into the areas of Wollaton Park. Hemlock Stone itself is composed out composed of Nottingham Castle Sandstone with the top sub-layer that is made up of Lenton Sandstone.
Mr. Earp said: “When the rock was formed the terrain would have been rather barren and desert-like with a lot of sandstone that was around.
“There are old connections to the rock but the term Druid is easily put around. In the past we rely on Roman writers to provide the history of Britain and was believed that our culture was primitive before.
“Anything to do with religion before this time is described as Pagan. It’s another way of romanticising it.”
The Three Stones Project at the Nottinghamshire Hidden Histories Team has conducted study on Druid Stone located in Blidworth as well as Bob’s Rock which is also situated in Stapleford.
The statement of Broxtowe Borough Council reads: “The area comprising the Hemlock Stone Stapleford Hill and Bramcote Hills Park is composed of red sandstone that was deposited in the middle of the Triassic Period over 200 million years ago.
“The upper portion of Hemlock Stone is heavily impregnated with barium sulphate , or barytes, a rock which is impervious to weathering and creates a protective cap over the pillar of soft rock below.
“Over many millennia, erosion of the softer sandstone surrounding the pillar by water, ice, and wind has shaped the strange form of the Hemlock stone we see today.”