Legendary Rock: OS Grid Reference – NO 614 079
Also Known as:
- Devil’s Blue Stone
This curious rounded boulder sitting outside the parish church was described by Alexander Polson in his survey of witch-lore. He told us that “when the old church was being built, the devil, as a mason out of work, came here and was employed.” But it wasn’t long before a local christian discovered his disguise and, uttering some magickal biblical words, the devil became furious.
“Immediately he heard this there was a clap of thunder and the fiend flew away to the Isle of May,” about five miles away to the south. “Here in his anger he seized a huge rock and hurled it at the church. It fell quite near, did no harm, and a part of it lay at the church’s door, with the mark of the devil’s thumb on it.”
On the north end of the Isle of May are the Altar Stanes (NT 652 997), thought to have been where the devil stood (close to the holy well of St. Andrew [NT 652 994]) and threw this stone at Crail several miles north. In pre-christian mythic terms, north is the direction or airt of greatest symbolic darkness. A variation on the creation myth for this stone tells that when it was thrown from the island, one half of it split off and it fell by the coast in Balcombie, Fife.
- Polson, Alexander, Scottish Witchcraft Lore, W. Alexander: Inverness 1932.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian