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

Midmar Kirk

Stone Circle


Like Rudston Monolith in Yorkshire, this circle is actually *in* a churchyard (Christian assimilation of older religions can be so hilariously obvious sometimes). The Gordon District Council have, as at East Aquhorthies, signposted the place and done a decent info board. The board suggests that the stones have been moved (probably during the building of the church at the end of the 18th century), as the stone opposite the recumbent isn't the smallest and (it says) the recumbent and eastern flanker are out of line with the circle as it stands. Unlike East Aquhorthies, the recumbent stone faces downhill.

The Modern Antiquarian mentions the western outlier stone in the field opposite the churchyard gates, but there's also another stone two and half metres high north-north-west of the circle. A pinkish stone like those at Sunhoney, it stands among the strip of trees along the right hand side of the lane as you carry on up the hill past the church, on the crest of the hill about 60 metres from the churchyard. It's leaning at 30 degrees in boggy ground, so who knows how long it'll stand. I'm told it's the last of an alignment of stones that once stood here.

Back in the churchyard, to the north of the stones is the outrageously pagan gravestone of one Anne Rochford - a stone slab fronted by a beautiful stylised tree made of copper-gold wire, with great little details of metal spider, mouse and lizard. Just the woman's name and the years of her birth and death, not a Christian word or symbol in sight. Nice one Anne! Despite being right next to a church, the site does somehow retain a very pagan vibe, and I suspect we're not the only ones who think so - there were discreet decorative ribbons tied on several trees.

(visited 30 June 00)
Posted by Merrick
7th August 2000ce

Comments (2)

My wife Anne was a catholic but with great respect and understanding of other spiritual traditions,especially celtic christianity and including pagan expressions.

The Tree of Life was chosen because it universally symbolises a being rooted in the earth but reaching for heaven, however that desire is understood. The sculpture, by Helen Denerley, includes a bird, a mammal, an insect. a reptile and a fish. Each leaf bears the name of one of Anne's ten children.

(Entered on the eve of the 20th. anniversary of Anne's death.)
Posted by gerard rochford
20th November 2011ce
That's a very touching post Gerard. Also thanks for bringing Helen Denerley to my attention, she may be familiar to those in Scotland but I'd not heard of her before so did a quick search and there's some incredible sculptures on her website.
I must have missed the grave stone when I was there but it was pouring with rain the whole time. I spent ages sat in the car waiting for it to clear but eventually had to brave it and in the hour that I spent there only one other car went past on the road and nobody else visited the kirk. The constant rain should have been annoying but I found the kirk, the circle and the peace and solitude hugely atmospheric and it's one site that has really stayed with me. Thanks for making it even more so.

Chris Collyer Posted by Chris Collyer
20th November 2011ce
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