Easthill, Auchterarder, Perthshire

Stone Circle (remains of):  OS Grid Reference – NN 9292 1246

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 26104
  2. East Hill

Getting Here

Easthill stone at the roadside
Easthill stone at the roadside

From Auchterarder’s A824 main street, going out towards the golf course take the Orchil Road on your right and about 50 yards along, right again up Tullibardine Road.  Park up somewhere 100 yards along, then just walk further down the road until you’ll see the standing stone right at the road junction. Look into the field on your right, above you, and another two hide in the brambles and grasses.

Archaeology & History

...and the 2 in the hedgerow
…and the 2 in the hedgerow

Included in Andy Finlayson’s (2010) fine local survey, this is an intriguing little group of three standing stones (and a fourth buried beneath the turf), all very close to each other.  They are shown on the modern Ordnance Survey maps as “standing stones”, but have been catalogued by archaeologists as the denuded remains of a ‘Four Poster’ stone circle.  Despite this, the circle wasn’t included in Aubrey Burl’s (1988) definitive work on the subject, nor his megalithic magnum opus. (Burl 2000)

Northern hedgerow stone
Northern hedgerow stone

Of the two uprights above the roadside at the field edge, a faint carved hand can be found on the upright west-facing side of the southernmost of the two standing stones. Although faint, this doesn’t appear to be ancient.  Written accounts of these stones are few and far between it seems.  The earliest seems to be in the lengthy essay written by Mr Hutchison (1893), in which he gave an excellent account:

“Less than a mile to the west of (Auchterarder)…is a fine group of stones, two only of which are now standing. These stand on the summit of what has been a well-defined mound, and the stones now lying where the roads unite seem to have stood originally at the same height.  The road has been driven through the group at a lower level than the summit of the mound, and the stones have been thrown down and laid in the waste space at the point of junction. The small mercy to be thankful for is that they have not been broken up altogether and used for road metaL This has probably been due to the circumstances that one of these stones has a curious encircling groove running round it, which perhaps impressed even the vandal roadmakers with the idea that it might be worthy of preservation. It would be interesting to know whether, when the circle or group of stones was cut through, any cist or interment was found.  One would expect such to be the case, but I have not yet got any information on the point.  There are several stones lying on the spot which may or may not be pieces of the original standing stones. Two considerable bits of old red sandstone, at least, look as if they were fragments of an original whole.  Two great stones, however, are unmistakably prostrate standing-stones; and from the positions in which they lie, it seems to me as if the persons who had uprooted them had laid them down as nearly as possible on the sites they had occupied (at the original higher level, of course) when standing.

“The direction in which both of the standing stones point is 236º, and a line taken from each of the prostrate stones to the opposite standing one gives very nearly the same angle (240º).  The prostrate stones are of metamorphic schist. The northerly one measures 7 feet in length by 3 feet in width, and is from 12 to 18 inches thick.  A grove or furrow, 2 inches deep at its greatest depth, and from 2 to 4 inches wide, appears to run right round it, at a distance of 2 feet 10 inches from the end, which may have been about the middle height of the stone when erect. The lower side of the stone cannot be seen, but the appearance at the edges indicates that the furrow is carried all the way round. It looks just such a hollow as might be worn in stone by the long continued attrition of an iron chain. The more southerly prostrate stone is 6 feet in length, 4 feet wide, and has an average thickness of 18 inches. The two stones still standing are on the high bank above the road, just inside the hedge. These are both of old red sandstone, thinnish slabs, facing in the direction already mentioned. That to the south is 4 feet 10 inches in height, 2 feet 8 inch broad at the base, and 10 inches thick. The other is 5 ft. 3 in. at its greatest height, 3 feet 10 inches wide, and from 13 to 15 indies thick. On its northern face it shows a number of depressions or indentations curiously resembling prints of human feet. These Mr Kidston considers to be due to natural weathering.”

Southern carved stone
Southern carved stone

Yet the “prints of human feet” are very much man-made.  A closer examination of these carvings is obviously needed.

Whether these stones originally played a part in an old tumulus, a cairn circle, or a typical stone circle, is hard to say with any certainty now.  We are in a landscape where megalithic remains were once in great excess: with the standing stones of Blackford to the south; the lost circle of Gleneagles nearby; the megaliths near Muthill and many many more…

References:

  1. Burl, Aubrey, Four Posters: Bronze Age Stone Circles of Western Europe, BAR 195: Oxford 1988.
  2. Finlayson, Andrew, The Stones of Strathearn, One Tree Island: Comrie 2010.
  3. Hutchison, A.F., “The Standing Stones of Stirling District,” in The Stirling Antiquary, volume 1, 1893.
  4. Strachan, Favid (ed.), A History of Blackford, Blackford Historical Society 2010.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian 

Easthill stones

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Easthill stones 56.292441, -3.731612 Easthill stones

Gleneagles Stone Circle, Blackford, Perthshire

Stone Circle (lost):  OS Grid Reference – NN 93 08

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 25929

Archaeology & History

Virtually nothing is known of a stone circle that was described in the 18th century old Statistical Account of Scotland, where a ring of stones was seen “in the parks of Gleneagles.”  Its exact whereabouts remains unknown and the grid-reference given for the circle is an approximation.  The writer told that this was “supposed to have been places of Druidical worship,” and it is mentioned alongside the megalithic sites at nearby Sheriffmuir and the Glebe.

The circle is mentioned without further details on the Canmore website.  A number of stones above St. Mungo’s Well looked promising when I was bimbling in the area the other week — and as the landscape levels out above the well towards Glen Devon, we have a promising panorama, but there was nothing there.  It would be good to have a team of us bimbling round here to see what could be found.  However, the site may well have been destroyed.  Any further information about this site would be hugely welcome!

References:

  1. Sinclair, John, The Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-1799 – volume 3, EP: Wakefield 1979.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Gleneagles circle

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Gleneagles circle 56.251985, -3.728668 Gleneagles stone circle

Gleneagles ‘A’, Blackford, Perthshire

Standing Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NN 9211 0962

Also Known as:

  1. Blackford
  2. Loaninghead
  3. Peterhead Farm

Getting Here

Standing Stone near Peterhead Farm

Along the A9 dual carriageway between Blackford and Auchterarder, take the A823 road south, up Glen Eagles towards Pool of Muckhart and Dunfermline.  Less than 100 yards up the road, turn immediately right and go past the standing stone of Gleneagles B for a coupla hundred yards or so, where there’s a left turn (down to Peterhead Farm). Stop here and look into the field in front of you.  You can’t really miss it!

Archaeology & History

Gleneagles A stone, looking west

This short standing stone, more than 3ft tall, has an elegance about it which megalith lovers alone will understand!  Maybe it’s the setting; maybe the feel of the land; or maybe something else.  I dunno… On my first visit to the site, Nature was wearing a grey overcast cloak, but the site and I didn’t seem to care; and although the view from here doesn’t have the same grandeur of Glen Eagles to view as its companion stone a few hundred yards to the east might have, there felt a greater welcoming at this smaller stone.  Odd, considering this monolith had been knocked over and re-positioned by the farmer in the not-too-distant past.  Anyway…less of this subjective nonsense of feelings from the landscape and megaliths!  Utter drivel all of it!

The earliest measured account of the stone is to be found in Mr Hutchison’s (1893) essay, where he notes this and its companion close by, giving us the dimensions of this monolith:

“This (stone) is roughly columnar in shape, but wider at the base than above. Its height is 3ft above ground; circumference at base 6ft. 5in., diminishing to 4ft. 2in at the top. It is of metamorphic schist.  The line of direction between these two gives a horizontal angle of 260°.”

Since that day, in the mass of archaeology essays that have been scribed, this smoothed upright gets only a minimal description.  Charles Calder’s (1947) account is typical, saying simply that it is,

“Somewhat cylindrical in form with a girth of 7 feet at the base, it rises with a decided tilt towards the west to a height of 3 feet 10 inches above ground-level.”

The stone fares better in Andrew Finlayson’s (2010) fine local survey of megalithic ruins, where he points out that this and its compatriot stone Gleneagles B, are in an alignment with the fallen Boat Stone and the upright White Stone, a few miles to the southwest.  This line works on 1:50,000 map, but when transferred to larger-scale surveys, the alignment misses each outlying site by 20-30 yards here and there.

References:

  1. Calder, Charles S.T., “Notice of Two Standing Stones (one with Pictish Symbols) on the Lands of Peterhead Farm, near Gleneagles, Perthshire,” in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, Scotland, volume 81, 1947.
  2. Feachem, Richard, Guide to Prehistoric Scotland, Batsford 1977.
  3. Finlayson, Andrew, The Stones of Strathearn, One Tree Island: Comrie 2010.
  4. Hutchison, A.F., “The Standing Stones of Stirling District,” in The Stirling Antiquary, volume 1, 1893.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Gleneagles A stone

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Gleneagles A stone 56.266815, -3.743460 Gleneagles A stone