I first saw this stone when I was still at school and used to hang around here with a friend who lived nearby.
This sturdy, giant, 12 foot stone stands in the centre of the small county town of Clackmannan.
The stone almost certainly doesn't sit in the original landscape but has been revered in history and folklore throughout different ages and now is a symbol of the fierce independance of the old county of Clackmannanshire.
You wont usually find this a particularly serene place, but it is worth the visit, if for no other reason, than to check out the extraordinary phallic nature of this monument - the main part of the stone is at a slight angle and has a large and seperate boulder sitting on top.
It's an absolute rager, sitting right in the middle of this traditional and sleepy looking Scottish town centre.
More likely connected with Manannan mac Lir i would bet, hence the reverence which was certainly pre Bruce and the glove! probably sat on the football pitch above the carse, but for a time was in the walled garden of Kennet House before moving to the town. Neolithic settlements have recently been discovered in this area of outstanding beauty. Also theres a very intriguing stone on the north east side of the hill of Clackmannan Tower, heading down for Alloa, which you can see has been used since time immemorial to sharpen blades.
You may think this stone looks like a mushroom. But actually it's only the stone on top that counts - the rest of it is a plinth, made from the same type of stone in the early 19th century. RCAHMS sticks its neck out no further than to say the monument is classed as a 'stone'. But one with a pedigree you have to agree - it's been the source of Clackmannan's name since at least the 13th century. [posts combined - TMA Ed.]
In Chamber's Gazetteer of Scotland [1832?] we find the following interesting account of the origin of this name:- "At the east side of the quondam prison of Clackmannanshire lies a huge-shaped blue stone, which, having been broken into three pieces, is now bound with iron. This is a sort of burgal palladium or charter-stone, like the Clachnacudden of Inverness, the privileges of the town being supposed to depend, in some mysterious wy, upon its existence, on which account it is looked upon by the inhabitants with a high degree of veneration.
Its legendary history is curious. When King Robert Bruce was residing in Clackmannan tower, and before there was a town attached to that regal mansion, he happened, in passing one day near this way on a journey, to stop awhile at the stone, and, on going away, left his glove upon it. Not discovering his loss till he had proceeded about half-a-mile towards the south, he desired his servant to go back to the clack (for King Robert seems to have usually spoken his native Carrick Gaelic), and bring his mannan, or glove. The servant said, 'If ye'll just look about ye here, I'll be back wi't directly,' and accordingly soon returned with the missing article.
From this trivial circumstance arose the name of the town which was subsequently reared about the stone, as also that of a farm at which the King stopped, about half-a-mile from the south, on the way to Kincardine, which took its name from what the servant said, namely, 'Look about ye,' and is so called to this day."
A likely story, quoted in 'Geography Classified' by Edwin Adams, from 1863.
The stone originally came from Lookabootye Brae (NS912911) and was sacred to the pre-Christian deity Mannan, according to a plaque on the old Tolbooth. A tradition also connected it with King Robert the Bruce.
The stone was said to have been a sacred symbol dedicated to (and/or containing the spirit of ) the pagan sea-god, 'mannan' or 'mannau', where the stone and the district gets it's name.
There are 2 suggested original locations for the stone.
The first one is about 600 yds south of the present location at the bottom of Lookabootye brae (see bit about Robert Bruce), at the very edge of the carselands, which were at the edge of the post glacial sea loch which flooded this area about 8000 years ago. Although the stone is certainly not that old, if this is the true location, perhaps the anscestral memories were taken to the neolithic, to when the stone was erected. It is also possible that the surrounding flat lands which were once the sea bed (also originally named after mannan/mannau) were seen as a gift from mannau after the seas receded. This land may also have been prone to tidal flooding in the neolithic.
Another suggested location is on an island nearby on the tidal River Forth, possibly Inch island 2.5 miles away or Tullibody Inch, 3 miles away.
King Robert the Bruce is said to have visited the area in the 12th century, and left a glove, called a mannan, on top of the stone. On return the glove was missing and he ordered a squire to find it telling him, 'look aboot ye!' This is a second, less likely and less accepted origin for the stone's name. The local council's motto is 'look aboot ye' and is emblazoned on some of the litter bins in the area.