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Brothers' Stones

Standing Stones

This article by Rob Wilson in Northern Earth magazine relates the somewhat hard-to-swallow story behind the two stones.

Apparently two brothers grew up happily in this area, but went off separately to find their fortunes far away. When they returned (curiously, at the very same time) one of them had become a firm believer in Catholicism, the other was a staunch Protestant. Foolishly starting a conversation about religion (surely a renowned topic to avoid) and finding they could not agree, they took the obvious decision to draw swords and sort it out in a duel (Jesus would be so proud). Naturally they both suffered a mortal blow and died - just on the spots where the two stones are, which were erected by the local people in memory of them. To place further burden on our credulity and add another popular theme it is also said that the brothers did not recognise each other when reunited (until, no doubt, just before they expired). I must be turning into a cynic.


This may well be the source, from a 1930 excursion of the Berwickshire Naturalists' Club:
The party then drove to Brotherstone farm, from where a short walk was taken to the two tall Greenstone Monoliths, from which hill and farm take their name. The rain ceased just long enough for this to be done in moderate comfort, but much of the fine view - practically the whole of the Merse to Berwick, the Lammermoors, Lauderdale, and the valleys of Tweed and Teviot - which lies spread out before the eyes on a clear day, was lost in heavy cloud.

The Rev. W.S. Crockett, D.D., said the Brotherstones must have stood there for a thousand years. They are one hundred yards apart, and might mark the burial place of some ancient chieftain. Some people held that the stones marked the site of a battle, but history made no mention of a battle ever having been fought there.

Local tradition held that the two stones were erected because of an incident that took place in Covenanting times. It was said that two brothers, having fought in foreign wars, returned home, and meeting on the top of the hill began an argument on theology. They grew so angry with one another that swords were drawn, and they fought until one was fatally wounded. It was only then, as he cried out his name, that the survivor realised he had killed his own brother. Dr Crockett pointed out, however, that long before Covenanting times the name "Brotherstone" appeared in the charters of Dryburgh Abbey as far back indeed as 1150.
A link to the journal is here.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
17th December 2004ce
Edited 27th March 2012ce

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