New Hampshire Missing Places: The Rocking Stone of Durham

There was an unusual, but natural, landmark that was once located in the Durham Point district Durham, New Hampshire.  [see comment section, which better describes its location.]

The description of the rock, shown below, is taken from page 218 of “Landmarks in Ancient Dover, New Hampshire,” by Mary Thompson, published in Durham in 1892.

ROCKING STONE. A rocking stone in the Durham Point district was once so noted as to attract many visitors, and be reckoned among the natural curiosities of the state. Merrill’s Gazetteer of N.H. (1817) speaks of it as a “remarkable” rock weighing 60 or 70 tons, and lying so exactly poised on another rock as easily to be moved with one hand.”

  Unfortunately it was dislodged from its position several years ago by some mischievous visitors, and could not be replaced. The rock itself is still to be seen on the farm lately owned by Mr. Brackett Ederly.

  There are many of these stones in Cornwall and Wales, where they are called “Logan stones,” from the word log, which signifies to rock or vibrate.  They are supposed under the protection of fairies, who heavily avenge their overthrow. It would be a great satisfaction to know this was the case as to the offenders who overthrew the Durham rocking-stone, but the writer is utterly ignorant of their fate. ”

According to “Scenic Frontiers,” such stones as was found in Dover are considered .PBRs. (precariously balanced rocks), and are a “measure of seismic stability,” since they would not remain balanced if an earthquake occurred (doh, “rock”et science).

Rocking Stones are found all over the world, but reports of them seem most noted in the British Isles and in North America.  Some of them, like the Dover example, no longer rock, have been forgotten through time, or have ceased to be an interesting landmark. (No doubt a few were demolished for home construction.)

If you know of any naturally-occuring PBRs in New England, please let me know. [Sorry, the small ones that could have been manually created in Harvard, MA don’t count].

If you have old images (photograph or postcard) of the “Elevated Boulder” at Bartlett NH, “Balance Rock” at North
Woodstock NH, or the “Tipping Rocks” at Shirley Hill, Goffstown NH, please share!


ADDENDUM: my friend Jim Moore who first turned me on to ‘PBR’ writes: “You may just be opening a real kettle of worms with PBR – and no – not
Pabst Blue Ribbon. There are just a  countless number of them!

ps: Here’s a little primer on Massachusetts:
Balanced Rocks –
NEARA article”

As always, Jim is the expert… and I am the lowly student.

*Additional Reading*

Logan Stones

Rocking Stone of Spryfield, Halifax, Nova Scotia (stopped rocking in 1963)-

-The Rocking Stone, PontyPridd, Wales; 1938-

Wikipedia: Rocking Stones

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2 Responses to New Hampshire Missing Places: The Rocking Stone of Durham

  1. Dana Morong says:

    The former rocking stone of Durham, N.H. is Not at Hilton Point in Dover, N.H. It is in the Durham Point district, just as Mary P. Thompson’s book said. It was on the farm of Mr. Brackett Edgerly, not Ederly. The old map of 1892 was most helpful in finding where Mr. B. Edgerly’s house was at the time. The boulder does not rock anymore, having been dislodged many years ago. For more information, and description, see American Journal of Science, volume 6 (1823), p. 243-244.

  2. Pingback: Rocking aka Logan Stone | Cow Hampshire

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