Photos and articles about Brighton and Hove in the time of coronavirus. See our collection and add your own!

The Wishing Stone

When strolling through the picturesque village of Rottingdean, you may be lucky enough to witness a rather strange local custom being performed. The participant will be standing by the outside wall of The Elms, former home of Rudyard Kipling. They will touch an object in the wall with their right finger, and then turn around from the sun three times, and make a wish. As The Elms is situated on the main thoroughfare through the village which does not have any pavement, dodging cars while performing this strange rite is an absolute necessity.

A malevolent imp?

On closer inspection, one can see the object in question, almost hidden among the bricks of the wall. It looks for all the world like a malformed human head. Or is it gargoyle or a malevolent imp, no one really knows. Neither does anyone one know where it came from? Was it found in the rubble remains of the  St Margaret’s Church’s restoration? To date, its origin has eluded even local historians.

Not for monetary gain

The existence of the Wishing Stone is not really common knowledge. But among the locals who are aware of this strange folklore, there are those who maintain it has been known to fulfil wishes. There is however one important proviso, you must never wish for monetary gain.

Made a wish?

Did you know about the Wishing Stone? Have you ever made a wish there? And did it come true? Please share with us by posting a comment below.

Comments about this page

  • Hi there, I wonder if you read about this in my guidebook, Secret Brighton?

    By Ellie Seymour (09/06/2022)
  • It may well be in Secret Brighton, however it predates the book of 2018 by a long stretch! it is a long -known about feature that has been an object of interest for a great many years, particularly to those living in Rottingdean.

    By Dr Geoffrey Mead (10/06/2022)
  • Henry Blyth spoke of the need to stroke the nose of the face with the right forefinger while turning three times [clockwise or anti-clockwise?!] in order to have a wish granted : not the easiest of actions, made all the more difficult now by heavy traffic and car parking ! He gave these directions in his history of the village, produced with content from Seaburne Moens earlier work first printed in the 1950s (Timothy Carder reproduces the directions in his 1990 Encyclopaedia). It might never be known how far back into Rottingdean’s distant past this guidance originates, or the Stone itself.

    By Sam Flowers (10/06/2022)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.