My friend thinks glacial boulders are rubbish and that this one on Cannock Chase is Staffordshire’s answer to Craggy Island’s stone of Clonrichert. She isn’t alone. Some years ago, the Express and Star included it in a list of top ten terrible attractions describing it as ‘just a medium sized rock on a plinth’.
Surely, though a landmark as well known as the Chase’s Glacial Boulder must have a story or two to tell? There’s often a lot of mythology connected to lithology. The Gilbert Stone in Birmingham was taken there by a giant to mark his territory and the Webb stone in Bradley was nicked from the church by Old Nick who wanted to use it to rebuild hell and women who take it a (rock) cake on Halloween get to see their future spouse.
Well I have found this….The boulder was found in a pit in Brocton around 1950 and was originally placed at the top of the wonderfully named Pudding Hill at Milford by the Association of the Friends of Cannock Chase. In September 1954, it was pushed off the hill by a gang of wrong ‘uns and so the friends group decided to cement it to the top of Spring Hill, which at 450ft above sea level was a fair bit higher than Pudding Hill. This did not prevent the boulder from going roly-poly again though. In May 1958, it was found at the bottom of Spring Hill having been chipped from its concrete base. Five men from the area were later arrested and fined £13 9s 2d each. The Birmingham Post and Gazette reported that they had, perhaps unsurprisingly, come up with the idea in the pub. “We only did it because it was a challenge and they said it could not be moved”. Apparently it took them four hours. It’s now located in a car park not on a hill which makes it easy to visit but do try not to get as excited as the couple spotted getting erotic on top of the erratic one boxing day.
I don’t think I’ve quite succeeded yet in my own challenge to convince my friend that Cannock Chase’s rolling stone is a rock star, but I’ll keep chipping away.