Visited the Humberstone June 2002 and it has now been signposted, and a wood border added to the area around the stone, by the 'Friends of the Humberstone'. Unfortunately I was following a walk in a leaflet by the Stepping Stones Countryside Management Project which led through fields, which triggered a major attack of hay fever. If you're going to visit the Humberstone, drive up to it! It's very close to a roundabout and I couldn't see where you might park, but there has to be somewhere near by. There are a lot of new houses being built in the area, which is worrying, and it isn't difficult to imagine the stone eventually becoming a curiosity in the middle of a large housing estate. We shall see. If you're in the area check out the village/suburb of Humberstone and the Cruck Cottage, and have a look at Pine Tree Avenue - lovely Sequoias.
... a quotation from Nichols's "Leicestershire" that [says..] " near the same place is a stone, which confirms the generally-received opinion of naturalists concerning the growth of these bodies; for, notwithstanding great pains have been taken by a late proprietor of the land to keep it below the surface, it defeats his efforts, and rises gradually.."
Nichols published his books 1795-1812, but this is a quote I found on p372 in 'On the ancient British, Roman, and Saxon antiquities of Worcestershire' by J Allies (1852), on Google Books.
Until the 1750s, it seems that the stone stood upright? Westwood and Simpson ('Lore of the Land' 2005) quote from the Gentleman's Magazine of 1813:
Some old persons in the neighbourhood, still living, remember when it stood a very considerable height, perhaps 8 or 10 feet, in an artificial fosse or hllow. About fifty or sixty years ago the upper parts of the stone were broken off, and the fosse levelled, that a plough might pass over it; but, according to the then frequent remark of the villagers, the owner of the land who did this deed never prospered afterwards. He certainly was reduced [..] to absolute poverty, and died about 6 years ago in the parish workhouse.
Still, it sounds like he lived to a ripe old age. Unless he actually died six years later.
Janet Bord (in 'Fairy Sites' (2004)) notes a letter in the Gentleman's Magazine Library of 1813 relating to the 'Hoston Stone', where it was 'generally believed' fairies lived in the ground. The letter tells of someone who visited the site alone, and heard a terrifying and deep groan emanating from the direction of the stone. Fearful that the fairies would emerge, he ran away.
Close to Thumaston Lane. Although only a few feet from the road, it is just off a new roundabout that leads to the Hamilton housing estate, it is near a garage. You will need a recent OS map as much has changed around here recently.
A huge red granite stone some six feet wide and twelve high once stood in a hollow on the top of an eminence at Humberstone. It was variously called the Hoston, Hostin, Holly, Holy or even Hell Stone, and gave its name to the nearby village, though the official derivation is from Hunbeort's Stan [Stonel. Geologically, the stone is an erratic, (similar red granite is found closest at Mountsorrel some miles away), but there is folklore that it was dropped by a god, and frequented by fairies. In the eighteenth century the farmer on whose land it stood had the upper parts of the stone broken off, and the hollow levelled for the plough. For meddling with the stone he was soon reduced from being the owner of 120 acres to penury, and six years later he died in the workhouse. The bad luck - if you can call it that - seems to still linger as within 10 minutes of my arrival yesterday two squad cars and 3 police officers harassed me at the site asking what I was doing on ñtheir landî! This is a public monument six feet from the highway and marked by a notice by the way. They obviously have a policy of harassing visitors as one questioned me about ley lines - a bizarre, and somewhat disturbing experience, now I know what it must feel like to be a traveller. The remnant of the stone can still be seen and has been recently dug out of the ground and is most impressive. As large as some stones at Avebury it must weigh at least 6 tons in its curtailed form (my friendÍs estimate who knows about these things), deeply fissured and very red. Its large front originally faced north towards Charnwood it seems. It must have been very impressive in its day, no granite let alone red granite around this district. In the same locality there was a plot of land called Hell-hole Furlong, and also the traditional site of a nunnery which was reputed to be connected by an underground passage to Leicester Abbey, two miles away and possibly visible, there has been much obstruction of site lines recently. The stone sits forlorn amongst new industrial and housing estates. This tunnel story is possibly a later reinvention of a much older line of sight alignment as in the Abbey Fields at Leicester there was once a seven-foot stone called St John's Stone. Its site is now in the middle of the Stadium Housing Estate. It was the custom for people to visit it on St John's Day, close to the solstice on the 24 June. Children sometimes played around it, but were always careful to leave before nightfall, when the fairies came out. Nowadays it is the institutionally anti-archaeological forces of Babylon one has to be wary of it seems.