|Also known as Granny Kempock and Granny Kempock's stone, this 6ft megalith was once a landmark to ships passing Kempock point. Now it's surrounded by buildings and probably can't be seen from the sea?
The sailors didn't just use it as a landmark; they would visit it for luck.
"It was chiefly in connection with the winds and sea that the Kempock Stane was regarded with superstitious dread … sailors and fishermen were wont to take a basketful of sand from the shore and walk seven times round Granny Kempock, chanting a weird song to insure for themselves a safe and prosperous voyage."Rev. D. Macrae, "Notes about Gourock", 1880.
Marie Lamont was burned in 1662 after confessing to having attended a sabbat of witches intending to throw the stone into the estuary. Let's face it she'd probably have admitted to anything in the circumstances (including, as she did, turning into a cat). And besides, by the sound of it she'd have been doing Christians a favour by getting rid of all of its attendent weirdness. She'd also have stopped another custom the church surely didn't like (mentioned by Macrae) - that of newly wedded couples taking a turn around the stone for luck in their marriage.
And Macrae also knew of the belief that the stone revolved three times on the stroke of midnight. Perhaps the stone would even come alive:"On Hogmanay night it was one of the freaks of the Gourock lads to go and array Granny Kempock in shawl, mutch, and apron, that she might appear in dress on New Year's morning."
"Granny" Kempock is said to wear a hooded cloak. But 'Granny'? Is it just my imagination, or does she look decidedly unfemale, if you know what I'm saying? Have a look for yourself at the photo on the Inverclyde Council site (where there's also a detailed map):
Posted by Rhiannon
7th July 2005ce
Edited 18th August 2005ce