<< Our Photo Pages >> Oxenham Arms - Standing Stone (Menhir) in England in Devon

Submitted by TheCaptain on Thursday, 03 June 2004  Page Views: 15406

Neolithic and Bronze AgeSite Name: Oxenham Arms
Country: England County: Devon Type: Standing Stone (Menhir)
Nearest Town: Okehampton  Nearest Village: South Zeal
Map Ref: SX65119354  Landranger Map Number: 191
Latitude: 50.725778N  Longitude: 3.912478W
4Almost Perfect
3Reasonable but with some damage
2Ruined but still recognisable as an ancient site
1Pretty much destroyed, possibly visible as crop marks
0No data.
-1Completely destroyed
4 Ambience:
2Not Good
0No data.
5 Access:
5Can be driven to, probably with disabled access
4Short walk on a footpath
3Requiring a bit more of a walk
2A long walk
1In the middle of nowhere, a nightmare to find
0No data.
5 Accuracy:
5co-ordinates taken by GPS or official recorded co-ordinates
4co-ordinates scaled from a detailed map
3co-ordinates scaled from a bad map
2co-ordinates of the nearest village
1co-ordinates of the nearest town
0no data

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whese001 hallsifer davidsum1 would like to visit

Anne T visited on 13th May 2019 - their rating: Cond: 3 Amb: 4 Access: 4 Oxenham Arms Menhir & Roman Stone: We originally headed off to the wrong pub, at the north western end of the village, but having thought the name of the pub wasn't what we remembered, we found the Oxenham Arms just down the hill from the village cross. Walking into the pub from the bright sunshine of the street took my eyes some time to adjust, but we welcomed the coolness and the opportunity of a long, cold, icy drink. I asked the barman if I could ask a cheeky question, and he said “on the scale of 1 to 10, how cheeky?” I replied “4”. He said “that’s not cheeky”. He very patiently told us where to find the standing stone, and also told us about the Roman pillar in the restaurant at the back. He very kindly said it was OK for me to take photos. He also added (tongue in cheek?) that they thought it had taken 40 years to carve the granite standing stone, although how he knew, I don’t know. The stone apparently continues in one of the rooms upstairs. Lovely atmosphere here. If we go back to Devon, I’d like to go for a meal here. A chance to see a couple of fine stones and have a drink at the same time - only the second time ever (the first being at the Templar Preceptory at Rothley). There are several notices hanging on the wall and I’ve typed this up.

Catrinm visited on 11th Feb 2019 - their rating: Cond: 4 Amb: 5 Access: 5 25 ft stone 4 feet into room above and 17 ft underground

graemefield visited on 4th May 2014 - their rating: Cond: 4 Amb: 4 Access: 5

RSleepy visited on 1st Jan 1989 - their rating: Cond: 5 Amb: 5 Access: 5 Nice pub - the megalith is original feature

AngieLake TheCaptain cazzyjane have visited here

Average ratings for this site from all visit loggers: Condition: 4 Ambience: 4.5 Access: 4.75

Oxenham Arms
Oxenham Arms submitted by TheCaptain : Oxenham Arms, South Zeal, Devon SX651935. An enormous and magnificent menhir built into the wall of a tremendous pub on the main street in the village of South Zeal, Devon. In fact, the pub is believed to have been built by monks in the twelfth century around the menhir. As the pub website says "A very interesting part of the house is the small lounge behind the bar. In this room, set ... (Vote or comment on this photo)
An enormous and magnificent menhir built into the wall of a tremendous pub on the main street in the village of South Zeal, Devon. In fact, the pub is believed to have been built by monks in the twelfth century around the menhir.

As the pub website says "A very interesting part of the house is the small lounge behind the bar. In this room, set in the wall, is a monolith and the theory of archaeologists is that the monastic builders placed their house around this prehistoric stone shaped by man 5,000 years ago. Notwithstanding deep digging, its foundations have never been reached".

This is one stone which is still very much enjoying life !

Update November 2019: This menhir is recorded as Pastscape Monument No. 444099, as MDV13065 (The Oxenham Arms, South Zeal) on the Devon and Dartmoor HER, and scheduled as part of Historic England List ID 1305729 (The Oxenham Arms).

This standing stone is also featured on the Prehistoric Dartmoor Walks (PDW) website - see their entry for the Oxenham Arms Standing Stone.

As well as the menhir in the snug, there is also a 'Roman Pillar' propping up the roof in the restaurant at the rear of the pub.
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Oxenham Arms
Oxenham Arms submitted by AngieLake : Another angle on the menhir at the Oxenham Arms, pictured on 5th Sept (07). I found it in the small dining room - off the left of the passage - behind the front bar. It props up a beam but is otherwise free-standing. Makes me wonder if there are two in this pub, as I didn't venture into the bar to check if there was one inlaid into the wall. (8 comments - Vote or comment on this photo)

Oxenham Arms
Oxenham Arms submitted by Bladup : In homage to TheCaptain's "having a pint" photo (The red face was from the heat of the day, not the drinking ha ha) (5 comments - Vote or comment on this photo)

Oxenham Arms
Oxenham Arms submitted by AngieLake : I popped into the Oxenham Arms on 5th Sept and found this one propping up a beam in the dining room - a room to the left of the passage, behind the bar at the front of the building. (It doesn't look like the one Martyn was enjoying his drink with in his personal page pic!) (Vote or comment on this photo)

Oxenham Arms
Oxenham Arms submitted by Bladup : The main South Zeal Standing stone is found in the little room second on the left as you enter the pub, I agree it's a standing stone but they believe it was always to be found at this spot, but i think the monks bought it down from the moor (Where you can find other Standing Stones like this one, but there's none in the lower lands where this stone is now), I believe it was once part of the Cosdo... (Vote or comment on this photo)

Oxenham Arms
Oxenham Arms submitted by Bladup : The lovely pub garden even has it's own modern Stone Circle, The garden also has a lovely view of the moor to enjoy your drink

Oxenham Arms
Oxenham Arms submitted by Bladup : The roman marker stone (it clearly was also once a prehistoric Standing Stone) with Ogham on it, It's found in the tea room, Second room on the right as you enter the pub

Oxenham Arms
Oxenham Arms submitted by Bladup : The main stone the monastery/inn/pub/hotel was built around

Oxenham Arms
Oxenham Arms submitted by Anne T : The 'Roman Pillar' propping up the roof of the dining room in the Oxenham Arms. (1 comment)

Oxenham Arms
Oxenham Arms submitted by Anne T : According to the barman, this is a Roman pillar, reused to prop up the roof of the dining room. Haven't been able to find out much about this stone, but will try.

Oxenham Arms
Oxenham Arms submitted by Anne T : The menhirs from a slightly different angle, showing how it bells out slightly at its base. We had to move a heavy chair and table to be able to photograph the lower part of the stone (but then moved them back after).

Oxenham Arms
Oxenham Arms submitted by Anne T : The Oxenham Arms menhirs; the nearby information picture tells us there is 14ft of the stone below this level; 7ft here, and another 4 feet in the Bovey Room on the 1st floor. The Barman told us it took 40 years to carve this stone, although I think he might have been pulling my leg! A very welcoming pub, and a joy to have a pint and see a menhirs, both at the same time.

Oxenham Arms
Oxenham Arms submitted by hoya105 : There is an embedded stone in the dining room to the left as you go through the pub. Another stone props up a beam in the breakfast room to the right. This description is shown nearby. The pub was originally a monastery built in the 12th Century by Benedictine Monks who came to the village which was then known as Zale and constructed a nine roomed 2 storey granite and oak monastery around the Menh...

Oxenham Arms
Oxenham Arms submitted by Catrinm : The stone, which extends 4 ft into room above and 17 feet below ground ( excavations in 30s and dowsed)

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Re: Oxenham Arms by Anne T on Friday, 07 June 2019
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Really delighted to find two stones at this pub. I photographed the information signs on the wall and have transcribed there here for anyone else who is interested. These were specifically about the menhir in the snug. I am still trying to find out more about the stone in the restaurant, if anyone can help?

The Prehistoric South Zeal Menhir
Total height of this stone is at least 25ft. 1930 excavation uncovered 14ft undergound; 7ft in the snug on the ground floor; 4ft in the Bovey Room on the first floor.
Carved by Neolithic Prehistoric Man around 5000 years ago, 1000 years before Stonehenge. Please feel free to touch the stone. Many say it gives off a warm energy.
It is enormous stone in total at least 25ft in height.
The section you can see and touch is the section shown between the two red dotted lines in the Snug Bar at the Oxenham Arms. Archaeological digs in the 1930s dug down another 14ft and did not reach the bottom of the stone.
The stone was embedded in shale rock. Most likely carved for ceremonial purposes.
The stone rises another 4ft into the wall of the 1st floor Bovey Room.

Notice in the passageway leading from the front door of the pub to the restaurant:
The South Zeal Menhir Standing Stone
Behind this wall, in the snug at The Oxenham Arms is the South Zeal Menhir. Carved by humans from solid granite over 5000 years ago before the wheel or metal tools were invented then placed by those people here in what came to be known as the village of South Zeal. This enormous stone which wold have been split out of the side of a hill then shaped by hand napping with granite tool, stood here when in the late 1100’s Benedictine Monks came to the village and built a nine roomed granite and oak monastery around the Menhir; encasing a pagan religious monument forever within a Christian religious monastery. Turning to your left, the beautiful curved arch topped oak door and frame is the original front door of the monastery. All of the walls around you, above you and surrounding the Menhir are the original monastery building from the late 1100’s and form the Oxenham Arms as you find it now with 5 acres of gardens and grounds of this Heritage England Grade II Star listed building.
In the mid 1300’s the beautiful manor house frontage was added by the Burgoyne family who purchased the monastery estate and this became the Burgoyne Manor for around 100 years. In the mid 144’s the Earls of Oxenham purchased the estate and this then became the Oxenham Manor. This manor house gained a licence in 1477 to become and Inn and Tavern. The grandson of the family John Oxenham was born here in the early 1500’s and he went on to become the famous Captain John Oxenham, who serving directly under Sir Francis Drake then became 1st Navigator for The English Sailing Fleet and also a famous pirate as described well in the 1st chapter of Charles Kingsley’s book “Westward Ho” along with English and Spanish naval archives.
The most notable of the many famous people who stayed here was Charles Dickens who spent much time in Devon whilst a young freelance journalist and whilst stranded here in a two week snow storm spent his time writing the first three of what eventually became to be known as “The Pickwick Papers”. Today we have 7 lovely four poster hotel rooms, wonderful foods, ales and wines, a lovely team of staff and our wonderful customers and guests. By visiting us you are helping us to maintain this unique and incredible building we hope for another thousand years. Thanks for visiting us. Lyn & Simon Powell (The owners and caretakers of the Oxenham Arms in our lifetime!)
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