The Rudston Monolith is the tallest megalith (standing zone) in the United Kingdom. It stands in the churchyard in the village of Rudston in the East Riding of Yorkshire. It weighs 40 tons and stands 25 feet tall.
At ground level, the stone is 16 feet 5 inches in circumference, 2 feet 3 inches in thickness, and its sides are concave. The stone is made from Moor Grit Conglomerate which probably came from Cayton Bay about 10 miles to the north of the Cleveland Hills. The monolith was probably erected around 1600BC and may have been the reason Rudston got its name. In Old English Rudston implies Rood-stane or Cross-stone. In the 18th century, Sir William Strickland determined that the stone was buried in the ground as far as it stands above.
He also found many skulls during his dig which suggests they may have been sacrificial. In 1861, when the churchyard was built that exposed another 5 feet of the stone. Standing at Latitude: 54.093884N Longitude: 0.322574W this puts the stone at the endpoint (or primary node) for not one but five ley lines which are straight alignments drawn between various historic structures and prominent landmarks. Skeptics stress that the esoteric idea of earth energies running through ley lines has not been scientifically verified.
The top appears to have broken off the stone. If pointed, the stone would originally have stood about 28 ft. In 1773, the stone was capped in lead, this was later removed, though the stone is currently capped. There is a fairly recent theory that there may be fossilized dinosaur footprints on one side of the stone and is speculated that its creators chose this particular stone because of this. The flat face of the stone faces the midwinter sunrise in the southeast.
A church may have been built on the site of the present church in Saxon times. But all traces have now vanished, and no church building was recorded in Rudston in the Domesday survey of 1086. A popular myth about the origin of the stone is that the devil, angered at the building of a church on this pagan sacred hill hurled a huge stone javelin or thunderbolt at it to destroy it, but by divine intervention, his aim was deflected and the stone landed in its present position!