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

The Auld Wifes Lifts

Natural Rock Feature


This mysterious and imposing monument of a prehistoric era is commonly known by the name of "The Three Auld Wives' Lift" [..]

On the upper surface of the top stone of this structure, which is a plane declining a little to the south, there is sculptured a circle of thirty-six inches in diameter, [..] and strange as it may seem, notwithstanding the hundreds that visit this curious relic every year, and for as often as it has been described by archaeologists, this is the first time, so far as I know, that this typical figure has ever been brought under notice [..] The greater part of the upper surface where this symbol occurs is much disfigured by roughtly cut initial letters, and names of thoughtless visitors, rendering it less observable than it would otherwise be [..] To the experienced eye, its purpose-like execution, and weather-worn aspect, will be sufficient evidence of its great age and significance.

Between the upper and the two lower stones of this monument there is a triangular opening from east to west which, if passed through according to the course of the sun in a truly penitential spirit, was formerly believed to have procured complete absolution for previous sins, and superstition still holds it necessary for all strangers visiting this enchanted place for the first time to creep through it if they wish to avert the calamity of dying childless.*

[..] The traditional account of this monument is, that three old women having laid a wager which of them would carry the greatest burthen, brought in their aprons the three stones of which it is constructed, and laid them in their present position. Verily, there must have been giantesses in those days.
*Or you could just stay sinful and childless, yay!

From A D Robertson's rather long-winded account in the Transactions of the Glasgow Archaeological Society (vol 2, 1883).

(while you're about it, you may not want to miss the ghastly account of Oliver Cromwell's preserved head, also in the same volume. or maybe you would.)
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
14th February 2011ce
Edited 14th February 2011ce

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