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

Stone of Morphie

Standing Stone / Menhir


"The magnificent Stone of Morphie sits next to the road through the farm where George Beatties ill fated romance took place. (he committed suicide after his betrothed dumped him) The 11ft monolith was once used as the core of a grain stack, and in that guise was blown down - along with the stack - by a hurricane in 1850. Six years later, digging prior to re-erection unearthed a skeleton. Folklorically, it marks the grave of the mythical Danish leader Camus.

The stone's surface bears the fingerprints of the local kelpie, who was also enslaved by the local laird to build the now-vanished Morphie Castle. This kelpie lived in the Ponage Pool in the (river) North Esk and achieved lasting fame in the poem John o 'Arnha', a kind of Kincardinshire version of Tam o' Shanter written by the tragic George Beattie. John Findlay, John o 'Arnha' was a boastful and authoritarian Town Officer whom Beattie knew well. The poem was turned into a play and performed at the Theatre Royal in Montrose in 1826, with the principal actor wearing Findlay's own red coat. The action concerns the fearless John who works his way up the supernatural food chain, besting the kelpie, a group of witches, and finally Old Nick himself."

Mysterious Aberdeenshire - Geoff Holder

'Stand aff, ye fiend, and dread my wraith,
Or soon I'll steek your een in death:,
Not you nor a' the hounds of hell,
Can my undaunted courage quell.'

John O' Arnha - George Beattie (1883 edition)
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
30th December 2009ce
Edited 31st December 2009ce

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