Locals will probably have noticed that work is underway to restore and renovate the ancient Four Shire Stone which is said to have inspired the Lords of the Rings author, J.R.R. Tolkien.
Tolkien was a frequent visitor to this corner of the Cotswolds and it’s understood that this waymarker, which is around a mile and half from Moreton in Marsh, caught his imagination. Fans of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings will know of the Three Farthing Stone of the Shire.
The top of the 15 ft high pillar - which marks the ancient boundary between Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire and Worcestershire - is hidden by scaffolding and the work is expected to be finished later in the summer.
The man who has made all this happen is James Hayman-Joyce, twice a former chair of Moreton Show and the show’s president in 2018.
‘I passed the stone on my way into the office in Moreton in Marsh every day until I retired,’ he said. ‘I became increasingly concerned at its poor state of repair and resolved to do something about it.’
He formed the Four Shire Stone Restoration Committee with the aim of raising £20,000 to restore the Four Shire Stone to its former glory. Fundraising has been steady and there have been some generous donations but the target is still there to be achieved.
If you would like to help, you can read about the history of the stone and find the link to the JustGiving page on the website at www.fourshirestone.org.uk
James added: ‘We do thank all those who have given already and realise that these are difficult and troubled times. Any contribution to restoring this piece of English heritage would be so gratefully received.’