Jeremy Clarkson named new beer after location ‘used to torture captured witches’

Jeremy Clarkson named his new beer after a spot historians say was used for torturing and sacrificing captured witches.

The ex-Top Gear host’s Hawkstone Lager was christened after the Neolithic stone of the same name, which stands in a field on Spelsbury Down about 800 metres north of the village of Dean.

Clarkson, 61, filmed an advert for his brew that showed him drinking it beside the ancient eight foot-high landmark.

The promo showed him gushing the monolith had “watched” everything from passing Roman armies to Nazis raining bombs on Britain during World War Two.

But he fails to mention the main theory about the 4,000-year-old monument.

Historian Elsie Corbett tells in her History Of Spelsbury book how the hollow carved markings at the top of the stone could have been where chained witches were kept.

She wrote about being told the legend by a local called Caleb Lainchbury: “He said the cleft at the top of the Hawk Stone at Dean was supposed to have been made by the chains of the witches who were tied to it and burnt.

“As witches seem to have been extremely rare in Oxfordshire it cannot have been a very common practise to burn them at Dean; but there may indeed have been some kind of fire ceremonies near the stone.”

But The Heritage Journal website insists: “Local legend states that witches were dragged here and fixed via chains through the holes, to be burnt. The cleft is where the chains have worn away the soft limestone during the witches’ attempts to escape the ordeal.

Other British historians are convinced the stone was dragged into place by a witch – while others believe it marks a grave or was part of a larger ancient pagan circle used by druids.

A dowser called Tom Graves said in 1980 he found a line connecting the stone to the Rollright stone circle a few miles to its west – which is said to be a king and his flunkies turned to stone by a witch.

Others have speculated the Hawk Stone was a place for sacrificial “offerings” to be made to the gods.

Clarkson’s ad in which he stands next to the stone near his Diddly Squat farm has been banned from TV after lawyers told him it broke a string of advertising regulations.

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He says in the promo: “This is the Hawk Stone. It was erected 4,000 years ago by our Neolithic ancestors.

“It was already 2,000 years old when Jesus was born. It’s watched Roman armies march past, and the Normans, and the Luftwaffe, druids, new romantics and punks.

“And now it’s watching me, standing in front of it drinking some lager. Lager that I’ve made in its honour.”

He adds after taking a swig of his 4.8% volume beer: “F**k me, that’s good.”

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