Ancient Monuments

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The Wade Stone

A Scheduled Monument in Highland, Perth and Kinross

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Latitude: 56.8182 / 56°49'5"N

Longitude: -4.1425 / 4°8'32"W

OS Eastings: 269323

OS Northings: 771683

OS Grid: NN693716

Mapcode National: GBR JB4P.P7J

Mapcode Global: WH4KM.BWNG

Entry Name: The Wade Stone

Scheduled Date: 26 October 2020

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13727

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: monument

Location: Blair Atholl/Blair Atholl

County: Perth and Kinross

Electoral Ward: Highland

Traditional County: Perthshire


The monument comprises a stone block 2.4m high, flanked by two low drystone walls which may date to the early 20th century, located to the north of the modern A9. The stone serves as a marker to the spot where two groups of road workers met when completing the Dunkeld to Inverness military road. The date 1729 is carved on the south face of the block to commemorate the year of completion.

The scheduled area is circular, measuring 5m in diameter. It includes the remains described above and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction and use is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The national importance of the monument is demonstrated in the following way(s) (see Designations Policy and Selection Guidance, Annex 1, para 17):

a. The monument is of national importance because it makes a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past, or has the potential to do so, as a monument to the 18th century military road engineering in the Highlands of Scotland. It was erected when this stretch of road was constructed between Dunkeld and Inverness.

c. The monument is a rare example of a monument built to commemorate the construction of a stretch of 18th century military road.

f. The monument makes a significant contribution to understanding of the historic landscape by being a physical reminder of this important strategic routeway. It's location by the modern A9 highlights that almost 300 years after its completion this road transformed the transport infrastructure of northern Scotland.

g. The military road network has close historical associations with people and events of national importance. The military road building programme had significant political and social impacts on the Highlands of Scotland during the 18th century. This commemorative stone is directly associated with General Wade.

Assessment of Cultural Significance

This statement of national importance has been informed by the following assessment of cultural significance:

Intrinsic characteristics (how the remains of a site or place contribute to our knowledge of the past)

The monument is a 2.4m high by 1.2m wide stone block erected in 1729 to commemorate the construction of the road which linked Dunkeld and Inverness. The date 1729 is carved on the south face of the block (other carvings are of a later date). The road was built as part of a programme of road building intended to increase government control over the Highlands of Scotland. The construction work was undertaken by soldiers of various British Army regiments and contracted groups of local men.

The monument was located a short distance to the south of its present site. During works to upgrade the A9 in the 1970s it was moved to its present location in the same orientation and with the low drystone walls. Although moved the monument continues to reflect importance of this north-south route and is physical reminder of the work of General Wade.

Contextual characteristics (how a site or place relates to its surroundings and/or to our existing knowledge of the past)

There was an estimated total of 1700km of military road built in Scotland (approximately 400km by General Wade and 1300km by Major Caulfeild) between the early 1720s and the late 1750s. The first programmes of work started in 1725 Under Wade's command, Repairs were made to various fortifications including Edinburgh Castle and at Fort William and new forts were built at Inverness (Fort George) and Killihuimen (Fort Augustus). Road communications and connections were improved between the garrisons at Fort William, Fort Augustus and Fort George. The roads programme then focused on expanding the network between Dunkeld and Inverness (later known as 'The Great North Road') with branches connecting Crieff to the Great North Road at Dalnacardoch (later known as 'The Second Great North Road') and Fort Augustus to the Great North Road at Dalwhinnie.

The Wade Stone was erected to commemorate the work on the Dunkeld to Inverness stretch of road. Memorials associated with 18th century military roads are rare; another example is the Well of the Lecht which has a panel that records that five companies of the 33rd Regiment, led by Colonel Lord Charles Hay built the stretch of the road that ran from 'here to the Spey' (scheduled monument SM2688).

Although the Wade Stone has been moved, it is still situated close to the road and this provides important context for our understanding of the monument.

Associative characteristics (how a site or place relates to people, events, and/or historic and social movements)

The network of 18th century military roads has close historical associations with people and events of national importance. The military road building programme had significant political and social impacts on the Highlands of Scotland during the 18th century. The roads and bridges are directly associated with Major General George Wade and Major William Caulfeild, who oversaw the planning and construction of the network.

This monument is directly associated with General Wade who, it is said, placed a coin on the top of the stone when he inspected the road. When he returned a year later, the coin remained.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 138777 (accessed on 09/03/2020).

Ang, T., and Pollard, M., 1984, Walking the Scottish Highlands – General Wade's Military Roads, Andre Deutsch Limited: London

Bruce, R., 1931, 'The Great North Road over the Grampians', Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers' 232 (2):113-30

Curtis, G.R., 1978-80, 'Roads and Bridges in the Scottish Highlands: the Route between Dunkeld and Inverness 1725-1925', Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 110: pp.475-96

Farquharson, L. 2011, General Wade's Legacy: The 18th Century military road system in Perthshire, Perth and Kinross Trust, Farquhar and Son: Perth

Mackenzie, K., 1895-99, 'Military Roads', The Inverness Scientific Society and Field Club, 5: pp364-384

Millar, R., 1967, 'The Road North', Scottish Geographical Magazine, 83 (2), 78-88

Ruddock, T., 1979, Arch Bridges and their Builders 1735-1835, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge

Salmond, J.B., 1938, Wade in Scotland, The Dunendin Press Limited: Edinburgh

Skelton, R.A, 1967, The Military Survey of Scotland 1747-1755, Royal Scottish Geographical Society, 83(1): pp.5-16

Taylor, W., 1976, The Military Roads in Scotland, SRP Limited: Exeter

Wallace, T., 1911, 'Military Bridges and Fortifications in the Highlands with Bridges and Milestones', Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 45: pp 318-33

"Commander in Chief of all his Majesty's Forces, Castles, Forts and Barracks in Northern Britain", =Letter-book of Field Marshall George Wade, 1725-1732. Manuscript held at National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh. MS7187


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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