Skeith Stone

Ordnance Survey Map Reference NO571046

The south face of the stone

The north face of the stone

Looking west

Looking east

The south face of the stone

The south face of the stone


From Anstruther take the main road through Cellardyke and after half a mile you come to Kilrenny - here take the left fork just before the village and follow the road for a couple of hundred yards, park by the farmyard on the left. Ask permission if anyone's about, failing that head west, follw the track round the back of the cottages then due west again, and you cannot miss the stone. It is nearly 4 ft high and around a foot wide. The north side has some vertical grooves and the south side has a well defined circular type carving on it.

This is interestingly explained by Ross Trench-Jellicoe in his paper "Skeith Stone, Upper Kilrenny, Fife, in its context":
"The identification on the badly worn Skeith Stone at Upper Kilrenny, Fife, of a rho-hook attached to a cross of arcs motif the decoration of which is augmented with a saltire of arcs is significant because it is the first example of a chi-rho symbol to be recognized in Pictland. The design on the stone shares stylistic links with carved monuments at Whithorn and on the Isle of Man and also with sculptural motifs in western Ireland. It seems to belong within a seventh-century context. The stone is erected next to an apparently ancient trackway leading into Kilrenny, a place-name which is thought to contain a dedication to Ethernan, a Pictish saint whose death is probably recorded in AD 669. The village is identified from 19th-century maps and aerial photographic evidence as a relict early monastic precinct divided into three sections with the Skeith Stone functioning as a wayside boundary marker to the site. A relationship between the Kilrenny site and another Ethernan focus on the nearby Isle of May is postulated."

The Rho symbol referred to is upper right as you look at the south face of the stone - badly eroded but faintly visible. This places a putative date of around the 7th century on the carving of this stone.

Visited 7th August 2006

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