Ancient Monuments

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Mortlach, Battle Stone, symbol stone

A Scheduled Monument in Speyside Glenlivet, Moray

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.4385 / 57°26'18"N

Longitude: -3.1275 / 3°7'39"W

OS Eastings: 332411

OS Northings: 839248

OS Grid: NJ324392

Mapcode National: GBR L9N2.018

Mapcode Global: WH6KG.X9WD

Entry Name: Mortlach, Battle Stone, symbol stone

Scheduled Date: 16 November 1923

Last Amended: 13 May 1997

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM350

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: symbol stone

Location: Mortlach

County: Moray

Electoral Ward: Speyside Glenlivet

Traditional County: Banffshire

Description

The monument comprises the carved stone called the Battle Stone, which stands in the middle of the lower cemetery to the south-east of Mortlach parish church. It was scheduled in 1923 but the documentation was defective: this proposal remedies this deficiency.

It is of green slate (1.8 by 0.56 m) and on its front are carved in low relief a Celtic cross, two fish and an unidentified beast, while on the reverse side are a serpent, a bull's head or bucranium, a horseman and a dog. The cemetery appears to have been laid out around the stone, which formerly stood in a field; however, since it is leaning at an angle, it does not seem to have been moved or reset when the cemetery was extended. The stone is traditionally associated with a battle said by Fordun to have been won by Malcolm II over Norwegian invaders at Mortlach in the first year of his reign (1005-6). Malcolm II is also supposed to have founded a bishopric at Mortlach in the seventh year of his reign. Fordun does not, however, mention the Battle Stone

The scheduled monument comprises the symbol stone and the ground extending for 2m around it, as indicated in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it represents a well-preserved example of a symbol stone decorated with a variety of symbols and a cross and for the insight that it gives into Late Iron Age and early Christian art, society and material culture. Its importance is enhanced by the likelihood that it stands in or near its original position, and by the existence of another symbol stone found nearby and now preserved inside the church.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS NJ 33 NW 12

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Other nearby scheduled monuments

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