The Falcon Stone
Ordnance Survey Map Reference NO295309
Looking south, showing cup marks
Turn off the A90 at Longforgan and take the road towards Knapp. Turn right onto the small road about a kilometre up the Knapp road, and park about 200 metres east on this road. The Falcon Stone lies out in the field to your south.
As well as some obvious cup marks on the north face, this stone is connected with the Hays of Errol, and the Hawk Stone at St Madoes. A Scottish peasant named Hay, and his two sons, assisted in the Scots victory over the Danes at the battle of Luncarty, c. 990 A.D. Following the battle, the peasant was awarded land for his assistance. From Bellenden's 'Boece', in The Archaeology of Scotland:
"Sone efter ane counsel was set at Scone, in the quhilk Hay and his sonnis war maid nobil and dotad for their singular virtew provin in this feild, with sindry landis to sustene thair estait. It is said that he askit fra the king certane landis liand betwix Tay and Arole; and gat als mekil thairof as ane falcon flew of ane mannis hand or sho lichtit. The falcon flew to ane toun four miles fra Dunde, callit Rosse, and lichtit on ane stane, quhilk is yit callt the Falcon Stane; and sa he gat all the landis betwix Tay and Arole, six miles of lenth and four of breid; whilk landis ar yit inhabit be his posteritie."
The falcon was allegedly flown from the Hawk Stone at St Madoes, and alighted here. Rossie Priory lies just to the west of the Falcon Stone, and the Hays (as the Earls of Errol) held the lands there until at least the 1700's. The story is quoted in several sources, and must have some foundation in truth. Part of the Hay's heraldry featured a falcon. Thomas the Rhymer saw the future for the Hay family:
'While the mistletoe bats on Errol's aik,
And that aik stands fast,
The Hays shall flourish, and their good gray hawk
Shall nocht flinch before the blast.
But when the root of the aik decays,
And the mistletoe dwines on its withered breast,
The grass shall grow on Errol's hearthstane,
And the corbie roup in the falcon's nest."
The last quotation is from Pratt's 'Buchan', printed 1858. The oak decayed, the mistletoe dwindled, and the crow did nest where once the falcon lived.