A Parting stone
is a monument, usually of stone, to either:
- Provide direction at a fork in the road
A fork in the road is a metaphor, based on a literal expression, for a deciding moment in life or history when a major choice of options is required...
-- a parting of the way, or
- Commemorate a final parting, as from a loved one.
A directing parting stone shows where each leg of a road fork leads.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...
legislation pertaining to guide-posts was on February 28, 1795. In it, the selectmen
The board of selectmen is commonly the executive arm of the government of New England towns in the United States. The board typically consists of three or five members, with or without staggered terms.-History:...
were required to erect guide-posts at the corners and angles of all roads in their towns and districts, Before that time, some individuals had set up roadside stones marking the distance or direction to some important town.
Numerous such stones were set by Paul Dudley, Chief-Justice of Massachusetts, as they bear his name or initials. It was not uncommon for well-to-do eighteenth century men to place milestone
A milestone is one of a series of numbered markers placed along a road or boundary at intervals of one mile or occasionally, parts of a mile. They are typically located at the side of the road or in a median. They are alternatively known as mile markers, mileposts or mile posts...
s by the roadside along main thoroughfares for the convenience of travelers.
One well known example of a Dudley stone is the Roxbury Parting Stone, known locally as simply the Parting Stone.
It is located near the Norfolk House, at the corner of Centre and Roxbury Streets, on Eliot Square
John Eliot Square District is a historic district located in the northern Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. It is formed by the intersection of Dudley, Bartlett, Centre, Roxbury and Highland Streets. Named after local missionary to the Indians, John Eliot, the square was the site of...
On its front or easterly face is inscribed , with the directions on the south and north faces of and respectively.
A memorial parting stone may be erected, for example, at the departure point of a loved one's final journey.
An example can be found in England's Lake District
The Lake District, also commonly known as The Lakes or Lakeland, is a mountainous region in North West England. A popular holiday destination, it is famous not only for its lakes and its mountains but also for its associations with the early 19th century poetry and writings of William Wordsworth...
at Grisedale Tarn
Grisedale Tarn is a tarn in the Lake District between Fairfield and Dollywagon Pike.It is the legendary resting place of the crown of the kingdom of Cumbria, after the crown was conveyed there in 945 by soldiers of the last king, Dunmail, after he was slain in battle with the combined forces of the...
Known as the Brothers Parting Stone, it marks the place at which
William Wordsworth was a major English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with the 1798 joint publication Lyrical Ballads....
on 5 Feb 1805 last saw his brother John.
Canon Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley , was an English clergyman, poet, writer of hymns and conservationist, known as one of the co-founders of the National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty...
erected a stone in 1882 with the inscription :
- Here did we stop; and here looked round
- While each into himself descends,
- For that last thought of parting Friends
- That is not to be found.
- Brother and friend, if verse of mine
- Have power to make thy virtues known,
- Here let a monumental Stone
- Stand–sacred as a Shrine
- Boundary marker
A boundary marker, boundary stone or border stone is a robust physical marker that identifies the start of a land boundary or the change in a boundary, especially a change in a direction of a boundary...
- Roadside memorial
A roadside memorial is a marker that usually commemorates a site where a person died suddenly and unexpectedly, away from home. Unlike a grave site headstone, which marks where a body is laid, the memorial marks the last place on earth where a person was alive - although in the past travelers were...
- Roxbury Parting Stone at WikiMedia Commons