The Hundredstone – a neglected piece of Yeovil’s history.>
This apparently insignificant stone stands on Mudford Road on the northern edge of the town of Yeovil at a spot with views towards both Glastonbury and Cadbury Castle and between the ancient earthworks of Cadbury Castle and Ham Hill. Who put it there? And for what reason? We shall probably never know the answer to these questions, but when the Saxons settled in this part of the country the stone acquired a new significance.
They brought with them their system of government which divided the country into administrative areas known as Hundreds. These were originally areas which yielded 100 men for the King’s service and were governed by courts or moots made up of representatives from the Hundred. And our stone became the meeting place for the representatives of the local Hundred, which became known as the Hundred of Stone.
Moots continued to be held here albeit in a much watered-down form long after the Hundred had ceased to be a political entity. In fact the last such meeting took place as late as 1843 when the members of the court assembled, solemnly encircled the stone, poured a libation of wine into the hollow in the top “according to ancient usage”, and then adjourned to a Yeovil hostelry. Nowadays it stands there lonely and ignored.
Words and photograph contributed by Jean Harper
Yeovil Archaeological and Local History Society