Ancient Monuments

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Clach a' Mheirlich, symbol stone

A Scheduled Monument in Cromarty Firth, Highland

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Latitude: 57.6917 / 57°41'30"N

Longitude: -4.2142 / 4°12'51"W

OS Eastings: 268104

OS Northings: 869028

OS Grid: NH681690

Mapcode National: GBR H8ZD.6BM

Mapcode Global: WH4FB.7XGV

Entry Name: Clach a' Mheirlich, symbol stone

Scheduled Date: 18 May 1925

Last Amended: 10 October 1995

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM1675

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: symbol stone; Prehistoric ritual and funerary: standing stone

Location: Rosskeen

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Cromarty Firth

Traditional County: Ross-shire


The monument consists of a standing stone bearing Pictish symbols, standing approximately 60m N of the shore of the Cromarty Firth.

Clach a' Mheirlich, or 'The Thief's Stone', is a sandstone pillar approximately 2m high by 0.5m square, with Pictish symbols incised on the SE and SW sides. The SE side has a 'notched rectangle' symbol approximately one-third of the way up, and the SW side bears, about half way up, worn traces of a crescent symbol with, below, a symbol which could be either a pair of pincers or a "tuning fork". Clach a' Mheirlich is a Class I stone, and hence probably dates from between the 7th and 9th centuries AD.

Clach a'Mheirlich may be a prehistoric standing stone upon which Pictish symbols were later incised. It stands within a cultivated field and until the symbols were noticed by Dr Sutherland of Invergordon at some date before 1890 it was locally considered to be of prehistoric date. It thus seems possible that the stone stands in its original position, a possibility supported by the very weathered state of the symbols.

The area to be scheduled is a circle of 10m in diameter, centred on the stone, and includes the stone and an area in which traces of activities associated with the monument, in both historic and prehistoric times, may survive.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a standing stone, carved with Pictish symbols, the erection of which may date to prehistoric or early historic times. Its importance is greatly enhanced by the possibility that it remains on its original site. Study of it has the potential to contribute to our understanding of the social structure and beliefs within early historic and possibly prehistoric Scotland, and to our understanding of the function of these enigmatic monuments.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded in the RCAHMS as NH 66 NE 12.


Allen, J. R. (1903) Early Christian Monuments of Scotland.

RCAHMS (1994), Pictish Symbol Stones: A Handlist.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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