It’s a guard stone – you say!

A little warmer on the road this morning and another clear blue sky.


Thank you to everyone who came up with an answer for the strange curved stone l came upon during my daily walk through part of the Woolley Valley.


You can comment on any item l publish by scrolling down to the bottom of the story. I am giving you a selection of people who have commented to show how popular a subject this was.

Within minutes of me putting the story online Jane Glaser came through!

To save the wall from being bumped into by carriage wheels….

Then came Jenny….

The stones were to protect the wall behind from being damaged by the wheels of carts as the went round the corner. The “pavement” is a later addition.

Historian and publisher Kirsten Elliott wasn’t far behind..

Jane and Jenny have given the reason – they’re called touchstones. There are several in Upper Lansdown Mews, which must have been a tight fit getting the carriages into the stables.

Then came Brian John Hall..

I believe that this object is, in fact, a “Guard Stone” the origin and purpose of which is well described in this article:

I think the scratches on this particular stone show it is still serving its purpose!

Tony Crouch from Bath World Heritage added:

Hi Richard. I agree with the above explanations (for the stone). Many good examples exist in the villages where the main traffic danger would have been farm carts. These were heavy, difficult to manoeuvre and could be driven by anyone (without a licence or insurance of course). I know the name of these stones as ‘Spur Stones’ – it is often the case that these things have different local names. Regards, Tony.

Via email Jane Sparrow-Niang added:

Dear Mr Wyatt
Thank you for your glorious photographs from your early morning strolls.
Wonders of the wild indeed!
In your message today you asked about the purpose of a piece 
of curved stone. This may be a ‘guard stone’, defined as follows:
‘A guard stone, or chasse-roue (French lit. “wheel chaser”), is a projecting metal, concrete, or stone exterior architectural element located at the corner and/or foot of gatesportes-cochères, garage entries, and walls to prevent damage from vehicle tires and wheels.’
Hope this suggestion is helpful. 
No doubt other readers will send you their suggestions too.
Thank you all very much for your contributions!


  1. Thanks, Richard, and all contributors to the guard stone mystery – I love learning something every day!

  2. There is a similar stone at the top of Lyncombe Hill, at the junction with Lyncombe Vale Road.

    Jean Brushfield

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