Glendevon Farm, Aberdalgie, Perth, Perthshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NO 07263 23575

Also Known as:

  1. Hill of Ruthven (Coles 1903)
  2. West Lamberkine (3)

Getting Here

The carving in the walling

Go west out of Perth city centre, along Longcauseway which runs straight into Jeanfield Road, then (keep your eyes peeled) turn left and go along Burghmuir Road to the end where, at the roundabout, go straight across.  100 yards along, a dead straight path starts on the left-side of the road.  Walk 400 yards along here, cross the road, keep straight on the path (called Old Gallows Road) into the trees and a half-mile on you reach a large pylon on your right; but walk to your immediate left here and after 25 yards go through the gate on your left. In this field, 100 yards to the south you’ll see a tree inside a large low stone enclosure.  You need to find the stone that’s the most northerly one in this enclosure walling.

Archaeology & History

It’s debatable as to whether or not this carving is in its original position as it’s located within the outer walling of an enclosure, deemed by Fred Coles (1903) to have been a large garden, yet which has all the hallmarks of being much earlier structure, possibly even Iron Age.  Either way, the cup-and-ring that we see today on the northernmost edge of this old walling, would seem to have been moved into the position it presently occupies.

Close-up of the carving
Position in line of walling

There’s another oddity about it too, as one (or more) of the cup-markings have been incised and worked upon in much more recent centuries, as evidenced by a small thin almost pencil-like cut into the centre of one of them, perhaps with the intention of smashing the stone to pieces.  A geologist or stonemason could perhaps look at this and let us know what they think.  Thankfully the stone and the carved design remains intact!

It was described by the great Fred Coles (1903) in a summary essay of numerous antiquities both here and further afield.  He told us:

Coles (1903) sketch
Close-up of the design

“The cup-and ring-marked stone here was first brought to my notice by Mr David Smith in the summer of 1900.  He then reported that the stone appeared to be one of a large number forming a rough circle in a plantation on the west of this farm.  On reaching the house, I was fortunate in meeting Mr Douglas the tenant, who at once conducted me to the westmost field and showed me the stone.  It is a squarish and not very thick block of ‘bastard whinstone,’ uneven, weathered, and moss-grown. It measures 2 feet 10 inches by 2 feet 8 inches.  As far as examination in the gloom of the clump of trees allowed, I believe I am correct in recording…the seven single cups and the two surrounded by rings as all the definitely artificial marks now visible on this stone.  The  stone at present lies prone upon the curved alignment of many stones which have been set on edge, enclosing an area roughly oval, and measuring in round numbers about 210 feet nearly east and west by 90 or 100 feet north and south.”

There are in fact a few more cups with rings than what Coles described, but they’re difficult to make out.  At least five have rings, possibly six of them.  If you happen to visit this carving when the daylight is being nice, see if you can catch us a good photo or two and stick ’em on our Facebook group.

References:

  1. Coles, Fred,  “Notices of…some Hitherto Undescribed Cup-and-ring-marked Stones,” in Proceedings Society Antiquaries Scotland, volume 37, 1903.

Acknowledgements:  Many thanks for use of the Ordnance Survey map in this site profile, reproduced with the kind permission of the National Library of Scotland

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

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