Wizard’s Stone, Dollar, Clackmannanshire

Legendary Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NS 9656 9904

Getting Here

Wizard's Stone on the 1866 OS map
Wizard’s Stone on the 1866 OS map

From Dollar town centre, take the road up to the gorgeous Castle Campbell, but instead of turning up towards the castle, keep on the road, uphill, for another quarter-mile.  As the road begins to level out, a small field and driveway on your left heads up to Kiloran house. Stop here, and note the stone in the field, right by the fence alongside the footpath which runs uphill by the field-side up into the woods.  That’s the Wizard’s Stone.

Archaeology & History

The small Wizard's Stone, Dollar
The Wizard’s Stone, Dollar

This site doesn’t seem to be the remains of an authentic prehistoric standing stone (unlike the one along the same ridge a mile east at Castleton), but is more of a memorial rock relating to some witch traisl that occurred here several centuries ago.  By virtue of this, I felt it needed to be included on TNA.

Not listed by Canmore, the stone is found in an area with a rich cluster of heathen place-names—most intriguing of which is the ‘Lochy Launds’ woodland, right above where this Wizard’s Stone now rests.  The stone has been broken into smaller pieces in recent years—as the photos here show—and the small standing stone which remains is barely 3 feet tall at the edge of the field.

The local writer and historian Rennie McOwan (1989) told that it marked the spot where a warlock was burned in the 16th century.  Years later, a local land-owner called John Moir erected the stone here as a memorial to the event.  This was subsequently echoed by fellow local history writer Bruce Baillie (1998), when he wrote:

“A large whinstone in a field in a field is known as ‘The Wizard’s Stone’, having been set there by one of the Moirs to take the place of a rotting stake said to mark the spot where the last Dollar witch (and, naturally, the last Scots one), named Forrester, was burnt, though this is probably folk confusion with the vicar of Dollar, Thomas Forrest.”

Angus Watson (1995) could find no early references of this stone, other than it being mentioned in the 1860 Ordnance Survey Name Book.  Further information on the site would be most welcome.

Folklore

Wizard's Stone, looking down to the road
Wizard’s Stone, looking down to the road

Reputedly one of the haunts and gathering places of the witches of the area, this spot was also known as Lochyfaulds, which the place-name giant W.J. Watson (1926) tell us means the ‘place of the Black Goddess,’ like the “Valley of the Black Goddess” of Glen Lochay, 40 miles to the northwest of here near Killin.  Modern folklore ascribed the wizard here to have been Merlin—as highlighted in the adjacent place-name of “Merlin Park.”

References:

  1. Baillie, Bruce, History of Dollar, DMT: Dollar 1998.
  2. McOwan, Rennie, The Green Hills, CDL: Alloa 1989.
  3. Watson, Angus, The Ochils: Placenames, History, Tradition, PKDL: Perth 1995.
  4. Watson, W.J., The History of the Celtic Place-names of Scotland, Edinburgh 1926.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

 

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  56.172894, -3.667954 Wizards Stone

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2 thoughts on “Wizard’s Stone, Dollar, Clackmannanshire”

  1. Merlin gets around doesn’t he. Theres a stone down in the Borders near Stobo castle said to have been his. It always amazes me the stories which gather around old sites like this. Woven into local tales they spring to life in the imagination.

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