There is Another "Coronation Stone"

"In 1627 John Speed wrote:

'At Kingston likewise stood the chair of Majesty whereon Athelstan, Edwin and Ethelred sate at their Coronations and first received their Sceptre of Imperial Power.'

"Kingston's place in the history of England was firmly established in the 10th century as the coronation-place of Anglo-Saxon kings. But the first written reference to Kingston occurs in a document preserved in the British Library. Written in Latin, it refers to a great Council held in 'Cyningestun' described as 'that famous place in Surrey.' The date of the Council was 838, and King Egbert presided. His son, Athelwulf, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Ceolnoth, were in attendance, together with twenty-four bishops and all the leading nobles of the Kingdom of Wessex.

"It has often been thought, incorrectly, that Kingston's name comes from 'King's Stone,' meaning the Coronation Stone, but the appearance of the name in the document, well before the time of the Kingston coronations, indicates that it signified a royal palace, enclosure or estate.

"The number of kings most generally accepted as having been crowned at Kingston is seven, though some are less well authenticated than others.

"The first Kingston coronation was that of Edward the Elder, son of Alfred the Great, in 900 or 901. Next came Athelstan's coronation in 925. His energy and humanity made him the one West Saxon king to compare with Alfred.

"Later coronations were those of Edmund in 941, Edred in 946, Edwy in 955 or 956, Edward the Martyr in 975 and Ethelred in 978 or 979 (later the Unready after the Old English 'unread' meaning 'ill-advised').

"The solemn ceremony of consecration would have been in a Church, either the predecessor of the present All Saint's Church, or in St. Mary's Chapel, sometimes called the Chapel of the Coronations.

"The status of Kingston's church in Anglo-Saxon times is uncertain, but it is of interest that John Leland, in the sixteenth century, recorded that the townspeople of Kingston contended 'that wher their toun chirche is now was sumytyme as abbay.' Recent research points to the likelihood of it having been a minster church.

"These references to an Abbey and Minster church are not the only similarities between Kingston and Westminster: Firstly the discovery of the ancient channel of the Thames on Eden Walk, and its conjectured course to the north and south of Eden Walk, now being more firmly fixed by site observation and excavation, suggests that by Anglo-Saxon times the area of All Saint's Church and the present Market Place had an island character, standing on a gravel knoll, with the protection of the Thames on the west and low-lying marshy ground, the silted channel and its floodplain, to the east. Saxon 'Cyningestune' may initially have been little more than a timber hall and church, situated on an island as Westminster Abbey was on Thorney Island.

"Secondly, although now mounted upright, when in position in the Church or Chapel, the Stone was laid horizontally like the Stone of Destiny.

Kingston's "Coronation Stone"

"What of the Stone itself? Like the Stone of Destiny it is of sandstone, but a hard silicified 'sarsen' sandstone, like those at Stonehenge, and probably originating in the same area.

"Finally, consider this account of Ethelred's Coronation:

"'Two Bishops with the Witan shall lead him to the Church. When the King arrives at the Church he shall prostrate himself before the altar and the Te Deum shall be chaunted. When this is finished the King shall be raised from the ground and having been chosen by the Bishops and people shall, with a clear voice, before God and all the people, promise that he will observe three rules.'

"'There followed the Coronation oaths, the crowning ceremony and the giving of the sceptre and the rod. The whole ceremony bears a remarkable similarity to that of the coronation of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II , in 1953, which included part of the old Saxon service -- the lesson from Matthew 22:21, three prayers and the anthem, 'Zadok the Priest and Nathan the Prophet anointed Solomon king.'

"There is little doubt that early Saxon kings knew of the Stone of Destiny, and its significance. Hence the Kingston Stone was to them a substitute against that day when Jacob's Pillow should come to its appointed place at the heart of the Nation."

-- John F. Battersby for Wake Up!, July/August 1996.


Hope of Israel Ministries
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