Top 5 heaviest lifting stones


A few weeks ago I received an email asking "What are the heaviest lifting stones that we know of?". Brynjólfstak and Marjunar hav immediately came to mind - weighing 281kg and 287.5kg respectively. But what about the Dinnie stones at 332.5kg combined? Do they count?

Then I got to thinking, "are there any lifting stones that we don't know of that are even heavier?". So I started researching and compiling a list of the top 5 heaviest stones that we know of right now.
If there are any stones that you think should be on this list, contact us!

The locations of some of these stones might surprise you.

Criteria

Before we start with the list of stones, there needs to be some kind of criteria to base the list on.


5 - Brynjólfstak, 281kg

Brynjólfstak

Marjunar Hav could be heavier than this stone, but because Marjunar Hav doesn't have a consistent stated weight, Brynjólfstak takes 5th place as the heaviest lifting stone that we know of right now.

Brynjólfstak became a favourite stone of many after the Fullsterkur documentary premiered, Brynjólfstak weighs in at 281kg.

A farmer named Brynjólfur 'the strong' Eggertsson carried the stone from the sea to the stone's current location in 1845. Brynjólfur got several men to load the stone onto his shoulders, then he walked with the stone for more than 50 meters to the stone's current spot. The stone was then named in his honour.

We've covered Brynjólfstak before on its own dedicated page

Location

The approximate location is on our map.


4 - The Eidis Hansen stone, 371kg

Eidis Hansa steinen

One place higher, but 90kg heavier is the Eidis Hansen Stone. And it comes with a story.

Eidis Hansen was a fisherman, and he liked to drink. He arrived back to Tromsø after a fishing trip and went to a nearby shop to buy some bread, butter, sugar, and something to drink - 2 litres worth. But the shopkeeper refused to sell any alcohol to Eidis.

Eidis wasn’t happy about this. He thought that if he can’t buy any, then no-one else should be able to either. So he went down to the shore and picked up this stone, and carried it back to the shop. He placed it in front of the entrance to stop anyone from entering the shop. And it worked.

The shopkeeper and several other people tried to move the stone, but failed. Eventually, the shopkeeper had to ask Eidis to move the stone in return for some free alcohol. A good deal for Eidis!

No man has been able to lift the stone since. Many years ago Torkel Ravndal attempted to lift the stone in the same manner that Eidis is said to have done. But he failed.

This is the most northern stone that we know of!

The plaque on the stone reads:

Eidis Hansen
Labukt Balsfjord
1777-1870
Bar denne steinen frå fjæra her og omlag hit.
Steinen veg 371kg

Plaque on the stone

Eidis Hansen
from Labukt Balsfjord
1777-1870
Carried this stone from the shore to around this spot.
The stone weighs 371kg

Plaque on the stone (translated)
Location

The Eidis Hansa Steinen is located in Tromsø, Norway.

The Eidis Hansen stone in Tromsø

The precise location is on our map.


3 - The Jakob Kvistad stone, 398.5kg

Jakob Kvistad Steinen

We don't know much about this stone. But we do know based on the information on its plaque that the stone was lifted by Jakob E. Kvistad around the year 1889 or 1890 when Jakob was 18 years old!

The stone is located in Norway, not far from the Skårasalen mountain, in an area with a low population. A few locals may know of the stone, but information about its history may have faded over time.

The plaque on the stone reads:

JAKOB E. KVISTAD
★25/5 - 1871 ✞10/9 - 1943
Lyfte denne stein 18 år gamal.
Steinen veg 398,5kg

Plaque on the stone

JAKOB E. KVISTAD
born 25/5 - 1871 died 10/9 - 1943.
Lifted this stone at 18 years old.
The stone weighs 398.5kg

Plaque on the stone (translated)
Location

The Jakob Kvistad stone is located in Kvistad, Norway.

The estimated location is on our map.

2 - Sterke Nils Steinen, 570kg

Sterke Nils Steinen

The third Norwegian stone in a row on this list! This stone was lifted by Nils Olavsson Langedal - best known as Sterke Nils (Strong Nils). Sterke Nils was known as the giant from Seljord who was fed Horse's milk as a child. He was described as 'horribly strong'.

Sterke Nils is known for a few different feats of strength, but he is said to have lifted this 570kg stone, which was named after him.

The famous Norwegian Strongman and weightlifter Torkel Ravndal attempted to lift this stone in 1973 in an attempt to recreate this feat of strength. He wrapped a chain around the stone, straddled it, and performed a strongman style hip-lift with the stone.

Torkel Ravndal lifting the Sterke Nils Steinen

The plaque on the stone reads:

Denne steinen hev
Sterke Nils
1722 - 1800
Lyft 570kg

Plaque on the stone

This stone was raised
by Sterke Nils 1722-1800
Weighing 570kg

Plaque on the stone (translated)
Location

The Sterke Nils Steinen is located near a church in Seljord, Norway.

The precise location is on our map.

1 - 三ノ宮卯之助の大盤石 - Sannomiya Unosuke's large stone, 610kg

Sannomiya Unosuke's large stone

Weighing 610kg - over double the weight of the lightest stone on this list - is a stone from Japan. It's also (unsurprisingly) the heaviest lifting stone in Japan.

For some this will be a huge surprise. "Japan has lifting stones?!" is what many might say - yes, very much so. But that's for a different article.

Unosuke was born weak but became the strongest sumo wrestler of the Edo period. He lifted the stone in 1852 at age 45 on the day of the Inari Jinja Shrine festival to an amazed audience.

But how did he do it? Unlike the traditional style of stone lifting, where the lifter picks the stone from the floor, Unosuke had the stone lifted to his feet. From there, he performed a dangerous feat of strength where he balanced the stone and pressed it with his legs - using the famous lower-body strength of a sumo wrestler.

A demonstration of how the stone was lifted

Not only did Unosuke lift the heaviest stone, he is responsible for lifting at least 39 other stones - more than anyone else in Japan. Seven of these stones are designated tangible cultural properties.

Unosuke sadly died at 48 years old.

Statue of Sannomiya Unosuke

Like many other Japanese Chikaraishi (power stones) this stone is inscribed with information about the stone and the lifter.

The stone is 1.25m long, 0.67m wide, and 0.4m thick.

Location

This massive stone is located at the Okegawa Inari Shrine in Saitama, Japan.

The power stone at the Shrine

The location is on our map.

Honourable mentions

Whilst the following stones don't fit the criteria we set out, they deserve a mention.

Marjunar Hav

Whilst we believe that Marjunar Hav is 287.5kg, we can't find any sources that agree on that weight. Until we find a reliable stated weight, it can't be on this list.

The Dinnie Stones

Individually, each Dinnie stone isn't heavy enough to get on this list. But as a pair - at 332.5kg - they would make the current list.

Ultaich gilean a’ Bealaich - “the lifts of the Bealach Boys”

Two massive Scottish stones that were once whole. Described in 'Of Stones and Strength' as being 12-14 cwt and 6-7 cwt. 610kg - 710kg, and 305kg - 355kg respectively. Possibly never lifted from the ground.

Naha stone

This Hawaiian monolith deserves a mention. A legend exists which states that if one were to overturn the stone, that person would be granted the power to unify all of Hawaii. Said to have been lifted by King Kamehameha I.

Kamehameha Rock

If only this stone had a known weight. Estimating based on images of the stone, it could weigh around 450kg. Placing it around 3rd on the list.

Unknown stones

There's no doubt that there are other stones that could be on this list that we just don't know about yet. We've heard that there may be some particularly large stones in the Faroe Islands. And based on the number of Japanese stones there's a good chance that there are other stones that could be on this list.

References

Eidis Hansen Stone - digitaltmuseum.no
Jakob Kvistad Stone - werelate.org
Jakob Kvistad Stone - hjorundfjord.no
Sterke-Nils - wikipedia.org
Sterke-Nils - lokalhistoriewiki.no
Sannomiya Unosuke's large stone - japantravel.com
Sannomiya Unosuke's large stone - heihei2010.blog.fc2.com
Sannomiya Unosuke's large stone - chikaraishiworld.blog.fc2.com

Contributions

Many thanks to Sean Urquhart for sharing his knowledge of the Hawaiian stones - especially the Kamehameha rock.