Bucks County Council backtracks on plans to remove historic stone from village street

Victor Wright who said he would have chained himself to the stone if the council tried to remove it
Victor Wright who said he would have chained himself to the stone if the council tried to remove it

An ancient rock in Soulbury which villagers threatened to chain themselves to if plans to remove it went ahead will stay where it is, Bucks County Council has confirmed.

The stone, known fondly as the Soulbury Boot, has sat pride of place in the village for 11,000 years and even had a road built round it after becoming part of the settlement.

The rock in Soulbury

The rock in Soulbury

But its future fell into jeopardy after a driver crashed into it and demanded £1,800 in compensation.

After hearing the rock is part of village folklore, the council’s executive member for transportation has now said it would be “lunacy” to move it after all. Conservative Cllr Mark Shaw said: “To move it, or even discuss moving it would be absolute madness as it as the heart and soul of Soulbury.

“What we want to do is clearly make the road safe and secure for all drivers but actually it would be absolute lunacy to move that stone.

“Let’s bear in mind this is about one person who’s crashed into this stone in over 11,000 years.”

The Soulbury stone

The Soulbury stone

A letter sent to Soulbury Parish chairman Victor Wright by Transport for Bucks previously stated: “If it comes to it, we may need to remove the stone in the interest of public safety.”

Legend has it the ‘Soulbury Stone’ appeared on the top of a hill after villagers fought off the devil and cut off his 
foot.

Another tale is that the stone rolls down the hill every night when it hears the clock strike midnight.

It is not known how the boulder gets back up the hill, but it was in its usual place when a motorist allegedly hit it, damaging her car and later claiming for the damage.

The stone pictured around 60 years ago

The stone pictured around 60 years ago

A Facebook community group launched a Save our Soulbury Stone (Soss) campaign calling for residents to reject any proposal to move it, with some vowing to chain themselves to the rock to protect it, including parish council chairman Victor Wright.

But after hearing the fight for the Soulbury Boot had been successful, village historian Chris Bryant said: ‘It’s great news. Clearly the council and highways are thinking about signing it or marking it clearly.

“My preferred solution was to put a lamppost next to it but at least the council have said they’re not going to remove it and are talking now instead of just dictating what they’re going to do.”