The Soulbury Stone has been sitting contentedly, keeping itself to itself for around 11,000 when it was deposited in its resting place from Derbyshire during the last Ice-Age. There isn’t anything very unusual about that of course except for the fact that this large stone is sat right in the middle of a modern road.
Legend has it that the stone is there after the locals had a fight with the Devil and cut off his foot. When the foot landed on the ground, it immediately turned to stone. It hasn’t moved since whilst an entire village has grown up around it. Oliver Cromwell even stood on it to give a rousing speech during the Civil War.
Everything was just going splendidly for 11,000 years until a dozy motorist drove into it earlier this year and tried to sue the local authority for £1,800 damages. One might have to wonder just how bad a motorist this person was to not notice a large 3-foot rock in the middle of the very wide road. Granted, strangers to the village might not expect to come across such a rock but it’s not unreasonable to think it might be seen several car lengths before hitting it.
Maybe the motorist is from London where the traffic moves so slowly, the only thing you are in danger of hitting is a speed camera, traffic light camera, bus lane camera, security camera, a pothole or a tourist with a camera… but not rocks.
The council immediately responded to the lawsuit by planning to remove the stone from the highway. Like the plot of many a low-budget British movie, the local villagers didn’t take kindly to their local feature being threatened and several vowed to chain themselves around the rock in order to safeguard it.
The council caved, not sure if it was a rock cave-in, but has now promised that the stone will not be moved but instead has painted bright white chevron lines all around the stone in order to draw attention to it in case any other dozy drivers happen across the village. Villagers have been quick to point out how ridiculous it is.
The council now claims that more permanent measures will be taken to safeguard the stone which if they have any sense will involve making it a feature of a small grass area. I can’t help thinking how ridiculous it is all because one idiot couldn’t watch where they were going.