Standing Stone: OS Grid Reference – NO 50552 16707
Also Known as:
- Blue Stone
From the bus station in town, walk across the road and to your right, as if you’re heading into the town centre. Barely 100 yards on where you turn left, you’ll see the Blue Stane Hotel across the road right in front of you. The stone in question sits in a small forecourt on the other side of the metal fence (as the plaque describing the stone tells).
Archaeology & History
Although the Blue Stane is well known to local people in the ancient coastal town of St. Andrews, outside of the area little seems to be known of the place. Even the Royal Commission (1933) report for Fife didn’t include the stone in its survey – and the site is east enough to miss it if you walk past too quickly and don’t have an eye for all things megalithic! When Paul Hornby and I came here, it was pretty easy to find. It helps with there being a small plaque in front of the aptly-named hotel, giving a small history of the stone.
Standing—or rather, resting—in front of the Blue Stane Hotel, the stone has obviously seen better days. Cut in half from its original size, the small upright block certainly has a very blue haze to it and was probably a prehistoric memorial stone, perhaps attached to a long forgotten tomb somewhere close by. Nowadays the little fella is only 2 feet high … and is somewhat reminiscent of a petrified Tyrion Lannister: proudly assertive despite his shortcomings! And long may he reign…
The historian and folkorist, A. Lindsay Mitchell (1992) told that the stone here was “more of a reddish sandstone colour”, which passed me by, as I’m brilliantly colourblind! But the fine lady also gave us one of the little known creation myths of the stone, saying:
“Legend has it that an angry giant threw this substantial block of whinstone at the missionary, St. Rule, who had usurped the giant’s influence. However, legend also records that the giant was not one of life’s bolder characters. He made sure that he remained far enough away frm this upstart, St. Rule, and threw the stone from the safe vantage point of Blebo Craigs, about 5 miles away.”
In Robertson’s (1973) fine work on the history of St. Andrews, he tells how the Blue Stane,
“comes down in the annals as having been a stone altar of pagan times. It was used for long as a meeting or trysting place, and was regarded with superstitious awe by passers-by. Men would give it placatory pat and women a cautious curtsey in the way-going. It is said that the pikemen of St. Andrews touched it assurance before departing in 1314 for (the battle of) Bannockburn.”
- Mitchell, A. Lindsay, Hidden Scotland, Lochar: Moffat 1992.
- Robertson, James K., About St. Andrews – and About, J. & G. Innes: St Andrews 1973.
Acknowledgments: Huge thanks to Paul Hornby for use of his photos for this site-profile.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian