Ancient Monuments

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Dogton Stone, cross shaft

A Scheduled Monument in Lochgelly, Cardenden and Benarty, Fife

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Latitude: 56.1583 / 56°9'29"N

Longitude: -3.2314 / 3°13'53"W

OS Eastings: 323609

OS Northings: 696865

OS Grid: NT236968

Mapcode National: GBR 26.HZZX

Mapcode Global: WH6RM.BGGT

Entry Name: Dogton Stone, cross shaft

Scheduled Date: 31 December 1921

Last Amended: 13 March 2017

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM90097

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: cross slab

Location: Kinglassie

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: Lochgelly, Cardenden and Benarty

Traditional County: Fife


The monument consists of the remains of a Pictish free-standing cross likely to date from the 9th or 10th centuries AD.  It is visible as a carved upright shaft having lost the head of the cross.  It is located on the north side of a shallow valley near the top of the gentle south southeast facing slope and lies about 105m above sea level.

The cross shaft is constructed of yellow sandstone and is 1.5m tall and 0.5m wide.  It is set in a rectangular shaped stone base measuring 1m long, 0.75m wide and 0.4m tall,. The base is believed to be contemporary with the cross. The cross shaft is decorated with carvings on all four faces with evidence of the central boss projecting on the east face.  The carving is in relief and although weathered is still visible. The carvings include a depiction of a horseman with a spear and intertwined serpents.  

The scheduled area is a circle on plan, measuring 5m in diameter, centred on the monument and includes the remains described above, as shown in red on the accompanying map.  The scheduled area excludes the above ground elements of the metal railings and the information plaque.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance has been assessed as follows:

Intrinsic Characteristics

The cross is largely intact with the base and shaft both present.  The arms have been missing since at least the mid to late 18th century.  The monument is weathered but in good condition and is believed to be in its original location.  The cross shaft was recorded in 1772 by Thomas Pennant and again in the mid to late 19th century. These sketches show the carvings in a less weathered condition.

There is potential for buried archaeological deposits in the immediate vicinity that could support a better understanding of the cross shaft including the date of erection.  Excavations at the site of the Pictish free-standing cross of Camus Stone revealed that the cross was set above a prehistoric burial cairn which contained human remains and other associated artefacts.

Scientific study, such as detailed laser scanning, could reveal previously unrecorded detail and provide more information on the stone to help our interpretation of the imagery, the possible purpose of the stone and its date or chronological development. The carvings themselves have the potential to enhance our knowledge and understanding of Pictish society, the development of insular art in Scotland, and even the technical aspects of stone-carving in the early historic period

Early historic carved stones such as this probably provided focal points for worship, but were also likely to be a public statement about the beliefs of the community and the allegiances of their patrons.

Contextual Characteristics

Dogton Stone is one of only a small number of known Pictish free-standing crosses, most survive only as fragments and no other well preserved example is in its original location. The Camus Cross is another example of this monument type but, whilst in a better state of preservation, was moved locally to accommodate the construction of an estate avenue. Another Pictish free standing cross, the Dupplin Cross, is complete and is also in a better state of preservation.  However, the Dupplin Cross is now not in its original location but is housed in St Serf's Church in Dunning.

By analogy with the Dupplin Cross, associated with the Pictish royal site of Forteviot, the Dogton Stone was erected in relation to a significant Pictish site or possibly a major route or road.  The Christian symbolism of the cross also suggests the possibility that the cross was associated with a nearby or adjacent religious house.  The monument retains the potential to help inform our understanding of these aspects of Pictish society.

The Dogton Stone is a very rare type of monument and is exceptional for its level of preservation and completeness coupled with the understanding that it is in its original location.  Comparing and contrasting the geographical location and artistic detail of this monument to those of other early medieval carved stones in Scotland can provide information about the spread of Christianity into Pictland, the prevailing cultural influences of the time and possibly the early church.  The monument is not currently associated with an adjacent or neighbouring Pictish site but future investigations could make such a connection, further enhancing our understanding and appreciation of the monument.  The monument is a visible feature and focal point in the local landscape.  There are views from the monument around the small valley in which it stands.

Associative Characteristics

There are no known significant associative characteristics which contribute to the site's cultural significance.

Assessment of national importance

This monument is of national importance as rare example of an elaborately carved Pictish cross that is largely complete and still in its original location.  Although missing the cross head, the monument retains its shaft and its decorative carvings although in a weathered condition. There is potential for comparative study of the ornamentation of the Dogton Cross with that of other Pictish carved stones. The monument therefore makes a significant contribution to our understanding of Pictish art and monumental sculpture, the introduction and development of Christianity in Scotland and cultural contacts in the early historic period. Apart from two more complete examples, the Dupplin cross and Camus's Cross, such free-standing crosses are only known from fragments.  Due to this rarity, the loss of this monument would impede our ability to understand the iconography of free-standing Pictish crosses, ecclesiastical sculpture, and the early Christian church, both in Fife and Scotland as a whole.




Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 52892 (accessed on 07/07/2016).

Places of Worship in Scotland website (accessed on 07/07/2016)

Allen and Anderson, J R and J. (1903). The early Christian monuments of Scotland: a classified illustrated descriptive list of the monuments with an analysis of their symbolism and ornamentation. Edinburgh

Foster, S M. (2004). Picts, Gaels and Scots: Early Historic Scotland. London.

RCAHMS. (1933). The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Eleventh report with inventory of monuments and constructions in the counties of Fife, Kinross, and Clackmannan. Edinburgh.

Ritchie, A. (1989). Picts: An Introduction to the Life of the Picts and the Carved Stones in the Care of the Secretary of State for Scotland. Edinburgh.

Stevenson, J. (1998). Pictish Symbol Stones. Edinburgh.

Stuart, J. (1856). Sculptured stones of Scotland, vol. 1. Aberdeen
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Dogton Stone
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Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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