Ancient Monuments

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Balharvie Moss,cross-incised stone 420m NNE of Miller's Loch

A Scheduled Monument in Howe of Fife and Tay Coast, Fife

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Latitude: 56.2483 / 56°14'54"N

Longitude: -3.27 / 3°16'12"W

OS Eastings: 321399

OS Northings: 706927

OS Grid: NO213069

Mapcode National: GBR 25.B9BJ

Mapcode Global: WH6R6.R61S

Entry Name: Balharvie Moss,cross-incised stone 420m NNE of Miller's Loch

Scheduled Date: 12 April 1996

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6342

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: cross-incised stone

Location: Falkland

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: Howe of Fife and Tay Coast

Traditional County: Fife


The monument comprises a large natural boulder, partially dressed on its N face, on which is carved a cross and a symbolic fish. The carvings are probably Early Christian or medieval in date.

The boulder is roughly pyramidal in shape. It stands some 1.2 m high and is c. 2.60m wide at its base. The upper portion of the boulder is detached from the lower. The surfaces of the boulder are irregular and unworked, except for the N face which is flat and relatively smooth. The boulder is mostly lichen-covered and the surfaces are worn.

Two symbols have been carved on the N face. Approximately in the centre of the lower part is a confident carving of a plain cross, c. 23cm wide, with expanded ends and a connecting ring. On the upper part is a crude representation of a fish, c. 25cm across, with a circular recessed 'eye' and trailing 'fin'. It is possible that the two carvings are not by the same hand. No other carvings are visible on this or the surrounding stones. The carvings are in poor to moderate condition; the cross is better preserved than the fish.

The boulder is located some 200m N of the main path up to the summit of West Lomond Hill in an area of moorland. It may have been selected for carving because of its exceptional location: it lies just over halfway and on a direct line between the summit of West Lomond to the W and the impressive remains of Maiden Castle fort to the E. The summits of West Lomond and East Lomond hills and Maiden Castle fort are all clearly visible from the boulder, and there are also splendid views to the N.

The area to be scheduled is centred on the boulder and is circular in shape. It encompasses an area of radius 15m around the boulder, to afford protection to the boulder and its carvings and to any surviving traces of human activity nearby. The area is shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is an important recently-noted addition to the corpus of Early Christian or medieval carvings, especially notable for its apparently symbolic location and its remoteness from established Christian sites. It is also notable as an apparently opportunistic work, carved on a natural boulder in its original position.

The precise age of the carvings is uncertain, but the stone is highly likely to have been carved sometime between AD 800 ' 1500. The carvings of the cross and the fish may have been done by different hands at different periods. It is possible that traces of associated activities may survive in the immediate vicinity.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland


No Bibliography entries for this designation

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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