Gormyre, Torphichen, West Lothian

Standing Stone (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NS 9836 7315

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 47916

Archaeology & History

A couple of fields east of one of Torphichen’s Refuge Stones (a prehistoric thing by the look of it!), another standing stone could once be seen.  It wasn’t a particularly big fella, and its existence may have completely fallen out of history were it not for the Scottish Royal Commission (1929) lads who visited and described the place thus:

“In the fourth field north-east of Gormyre Farm is a narrow, upright, pointed boulder of schist, 3 feet 10 inches high and 1 foot 6 inches wide at base, which is roughly pentagonal.  The greatest width on the east face is 20 inches, on the west face 8 inches; but the faces die into each other at the upper part till the section becomes triangular.”

A few years after the Royal Commission boys had been here, the land-owner saw fit to uproot the stone and dump it at the side of the field.  In the 1980s, when the Royal Commission lads came to visit the site again, they reported that the “standing stone no longer exists”—probably meaning that the land-owner had destroyed it.  Some idiotic land-owners do this sort of thing.

When we visited the arena a few weeks ago, Frank Mercer and I found a couple of stones at the side of the adjacent field which may have once stood upright, but if the early accounts of its position are correct, we were looking in the wrong place.  Another visit is required to see if we can find it in the undergrowth along the field edges.  If not, another one has bit the dust, as they say…


  1. Mackay, P.H.R., Sanctuary and the Privilige of St. John, WLHAS: Edinburgh n.d. (1976?).
  2. Royal Commission Ancient & Historical Monuments Scotland, Inventory of Monuments & Constructions in the Counties of Midlothian and West Lothian, HMSO: Edinburgh 1929.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

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