The St Fergus Manse Stone

Ordnance Survey Map Reference NO386469

The stone - west face

The stone - west face

The stone - detail of cross face

The stone - close-up of symbols on east side

In the village of Glamis, Angus, take the Main Street and follow it round past the Angus Folk Museum (worth a visit whilst you're here!) and on round to the village Kirk of St Fergus. There is a car park here, park and cross the road to the Manse (the minister's house, for those unfamiliar with the Scots terminology). Permission is granted to access the grounds to view the stone as long as you remember to close the gate. This is a superb Class 2 stone, standing well over 2m tall. The west face of the stone has a magnificent Celtic Cross carving, well preserved, and the east face shows a serpent, a fish, and a mirror. Absolutely stunning! Do have a look round the kirk itself whilst you are here, it is a fairly classic Scots design. The church was originally granted to Arbroath Abbey in the 12th century, and dedicated in 1242, though this is a later building. There are some fragments of carved stone just inside which are worth a look too! Revisited 10th December 2002, and some new photos have been added.

One interpretation of this stone is given in Thomas Pennant's 1776 book, "A Tour in Scotland" thus :
In the churchyard at Glamis is a stone similar to those at Aberlemno. This is supposed to have been erected in memory of the assassination of King Malcolm, and is called his grave stone. On one front is a cross: on the upper part is some wild beast, and opposite to it a centaur; beneath, in one compartment, is the head of a wolf; these animals denoting the barbarity of the conspirators; in another compartment are two persons shaking hands; in their other hands is a battle-axe: perhaps these are represented in the act of confederacy. On the opposite front of the stone are represented an eel and another fish. This alludes to the fate of the murderers, who, as soon as they had committed the horrid act, fled. The roads were at that time covered in snow; they lost the path, and went on to the lake of Forfar, which happened to be frozen over, but not sufficiently strong to bear their weight: the ice broke, and they all perished miserably.

Inside the kirk are the following stones, descibed thus in Canmore: "The lower part of a cross-slab was found at Glamis in 1967. At one time it must have been built into a wall as it has been roughly squared and its back face bears traces of mortar. The fragment measures 59cm high, 55cm across, and is 13cm thick. On the front, the foot of the cross-shaft is ornamented with interlace decoration. In a panel to the right of the shaft are the hindquarters of a beast (possibly a fox or a wolf), and part of a wing. To the left is the lower half of the figure of a man. The only sculpture to be seen on the other face are two pairs of legs in the top left-hand corner. It is not clear whether these represent the legs of two human figures standing close together or an animal."

The cross slab fragment

A fragment of what appears to be the corner of a piece of church 'furniture' with a pillar and scroll work suggesting a corner-post was discovered in the Manse Rockery. It is probably of the Romanesque period of the late 11th/12th century.

The central one is here referred to

Found in the rockery at Glamis Manse in 1984, a thin slab bears a fragment of a triple-oval symbol with central 'double-comma' decoration.

The piece with part of the triple-oval symbol

Click here for a map
courtesy of StreetMap

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