A newcomer to the list directed here by a trigonomy enthusiast, I'm hoping
someone's seen something similar to the picture at
of an old stone very close to where I live. The picture shows the E face of the
stone; there is a benchmark cut at the foot of the N face. OS gives its
location as ST83769971. It is currently doing duty as a fence post; there are
holes in the W face where hinges or fencing rods have been fixed.
The image carved on the stone is a hangman-type figure, obviously male, with
the figure '10' below his left foot. There is a suggestion of vertical lines at the
ends of his arms, so that these and his arms form an 'H'. There is also a
suggestion of further engraving beneath his right foot, symmetrical with
the 'lO'. This could be a circle of dots - like those made by pushing the ends of
your fingers into wet concrete - with perhaps something in the centre of the
circle so formed.
The carving, barely visible and only photographable in strong Southerly
sunlight, is clearly very much older than the benchmark, which is not marked
on the 1885 map of the area. I've heard various suggestions as to the image's
significance, but none of them is convincing. An expert on milestones says
that a shaped stone like this is not likely to be older that early 18th century,
but the carving looks - to my untutored eye - very much older. Another
correspondent has suggested that the little man could be a dodman with his
staves, and other ideas have included a funeral waymark (there is an old burial
ground just S of it), something masonic, or a boundary marker of some sort.
Any ideas as to the significance and/or age of the markings?