The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Candle Hill

Stone Circle


Love them bees!

"The Candle Stone is a large pillar-stone which stands at Candle Ridge, Drumwhindle,
near Arnage, and there are three Candle Sills, one at Oyne, one in the parish of Rayne, and the other near Insch, within a few miles of each other. On each of these Candle Hills there are remains of a stone circle, so that al these candle-names appear to be associated with either stone circles or a standing-stone. The association has given rise to the idea that candles were employed in the ceremonies performed by the "Druids" at such places; but Professor Watson tells me that the Gaelic word signifies not a diminutive candle, but even a huge torch, so that the word might well be applied figuratively to a tall stone suggesting the shape of a torch.
Another explanation of the name, however, is possible. In former days wax candles were much used in Church services, and since the wax was derived from bees, whose honey was used for sweetening, it was not overplentiful, and was accordingly highly valued. Thus gifts of wax frequently find mention in old deeds arid charters : two stones of wax were dedicated in 1233 by the Earl of Buchan to the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin at Rattray, and another grant of 5pounds is referred to in the
confirmation of a charter of John Lord of the Isles in 1460. Grants of wax for Church use came to be associated with land suitable for beekeeping : thus the Candlelands at Ellon were dedicated to the use of the church there, and had to provide twenty-four wax candles three times a year to burn before the high altar of the Church of Ellon. These Candlelands are only some 5 miles distant from the Candlestone and Candle Ridge of Drumwhindle. It may be no more than a coincidence that the Candle Ridge near Ellon and the three Candle Hills in the Insch district have each a standing-stone or a stone circle. Naturally hill-top monuments would escape much of the destruction which visited similar monuments on arable land, so that out of the large numbers of these monuments which must have existed at one time, the hill-top examples stood every chance of survival; further, the very conditions which would account for the preservation of the stones, rough, rather high ground with abundance of heather and the characteristic vegetation of such places, would be just those best suited for the keeping of the bee-stocks which were to produce the sacred candle wax. The suggestion, therefore, is that the ancient stones have only a casual connection with candlelands from which beeswax was obtained or levied".

Folklore of the Aberdeen Stone Circles and Standing Stones by James Ritchie
Proceedings of The Society of Antquities of Scotland. Vol LX.20
May 10 1926
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
15th October 2004ce

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