Legendary Rock: OS Grid Reference – NT 03326 99712
In the lovely village that is the Crook of Devon, go down Church Lane, past the houses, until you meet with the dirt-track on your left that runs straight up beneath a grove of trees heading into the green fields. Go up here 100 yards until you meet another track that goes sharp left. Just here, 10 yards along, a solitary tree sits by the wall; and just past it is a large boulder up against the walling. This is the Bull Stone!
Archaeology & History
If you didn’t know owt about this place, you wouldn’t even give it a second-thought. A decent-sized rock, obviously broken-up and then plastered back together again, is innocuously resting up against the wall. But it appears to have had some significance in bygone centuries, although its full story has yet to be recovered. It was described in the Royal Commission (1933) report for antiquities, where they told:
“Built against the dike on the north side of an old roadway, half a mile to the south of Crook of Devon, is a huge sandstone boulder known as ‘The Bull Stone.’ It is probably an old boundary mark or, like the Leslie Stone…it may have some association with the old-time pastime of bull-baiting. The stone was broken up a number of years ago, and the fragments were carted away to be built up in another dike hard by, but, in response to public agitation, they were returned to the original site and cemented together. The boulder rises 3½ feet above ground and has a girth of about 13 feet at the base. It is not set up vertically, but lies on its side.”
It may originally have been a standing stone as local lore tells that it once stood as high as a grown man, but is now only half that size. It may have been one of the meeting places of the legendary witches at the Crook of Devon, but this is guesswork on my behalf (so best ignored!).
- Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, Fife, Kinross and Clackmannan, HMSO: Edinburgh 1933.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian