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Stone of Morphie

Standing Stone / Menhir

<b>Stone of Morphie</b>Posted by nobutImage © photo by nobut
Also known as:
  • Stone of Morphy

Nearest Town:Montrose (5km SSE)
OS Ref (GB):   NO717626 / Sheet: 45
Latitude:56° 45' 14.92" N
Longitude:   2° 27' 46.29" W

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<b>Stone of Morphie</b>Posted by drewbhoy <b>Stone of Morphie</b>Posted by drewbhoy <b>Stone of Morphie</b>Posted by drewbhoy <b>Stone of Morphie</b>Posted by drewbhoy <b>Stone of Morphie</b>Posted by fitzcoraldo <b>Stone of Morphie</b>Posted by fitzcoraldo <b>Stone of Morphie</b>Posted by fitzcoraldo <b>Stone of Morphie</b>Posted by nickbrand <b>Stone of Morphie</b>Posted by hamish <b>Stone of Morphie</b>Posted by hamish <b>Stone of Morphie</b>Posted by C Michael Hogan <b>Stone of Morphie</b>Posted by nobut <b>Stone of Morphie</b>Posted by nobut <b>Stone of Morphie</b>Posted by nobut


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From Morphie Farm I headed south back down the farm road, past the recent additions of standing stone, and walked east along this twisty road. Drivers here, like everywhere else, seem to drive very fast. Still I arrived in one piece at this magnificent stone. Standing at 3.5m tall it made me feel small.

With that it was on with the longest part of the walk across the border into Angus :-).

Visited 6/4/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
2nd June 2017ce

Not to difficult to find, as you round the corner there it is. It sits amongst the debris of farming but this does not detract from the stones magnificence. It must have commanded quite a view in the past for the land drops away towards the hills. hamish Posted by hamish
30th June 2008ce

The Stone of Morphie stands atop a small rise in SE Aberdeenshire, north of Montrose and west of the village of St Cyrus. An impressive 10ft stone with interesting whorls, shapes, colours and markings, it struggles to achieve its full grandeur against the utilitarian backdrop of a modern farm. Posted by nobut
19th April 2005ce


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The Stone Of Morphie or Morphy is said to mark the grave of a Danish king, Camus, defeated in battle by Malcolm 2 (1005-1034). During a hurricane in the mid nineteenth century the stone fell down, and while it was being re-erected a skeleton was found beneath it, 'of large dimensions.'

J. C. Watt writing in 1914, surmises that the monolith once formed part of a circle, adducing the 'immense number' of stone circles and tombs found in the neighbourhood, and adds that 'some years ago' he sent a friend to photograph the stone, 'but it was doing some duty at the core of a corn stack at the farm of Stone o' Morphy'.

The stone is associated not only with the Danes but with the menacing Kelpie, said to have carried it. Archibald Watt notes in 1985 that 'you can still see his fingerprint on the stone where he grasped it', a motif more commonly associated with the Devil or a giant rather than the Kelpie, which usually appeared as a horse, although it could mainfest in human form. This Kelpie haunted the Ponage (or Poundage, or Pontage) Pool in the Esk, and was celebrated in a poem of 1826 by George Beattie

When ye hear the Kelpie howl,
Hie ye to the Pontage-pool;
There you'll see the Deil himsel'
Leadin' on the hounds o' Hell.

Here the Kelpie is described as a 'stalwart monster, huge in size';

Behind, a dragon's tail he wore,
Twa bullock's horns stack out before;
His legs were horn, wi joints o' steel,
His body like a crocodile.

'It is a well-authenticated fact' note Beattie, 'that, upon one occasion, when the Kelpie had appeared in the shape of a horse, he was laid hold of, and had a bridle, or halter, of a particular description, fastened on to his head. He was kept in thraldom for a considerable time, and drove the greater part of the stones for the building of the house of Morphie. Some sage person, acquainted with the particular disposition of the animal, or fiend, or whatever he maybe called, gave orders that at no time should the halter be removed, otherwise he would never more be seen.' A maid-servant, however, happened to go into the stable and took pity on the beast, taking off the bridle and giving it some food. The Kelpie then laughed and immediately went through the back of the stable, but leaving no mark whatever on the wall. As he went he proclaimed:

O sairs my back, and sair my banes,
Leadin' the Laird o' Morphie's stanes;
The Laird o' Morphie canna thrive
As lang's the Kelpie is alive.

The curse had its effect: no trace of Morphie Castle now survives.

The Lore Of Scotland - A Guide To Scottish Legends

Westwood & Kingshill
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
14th February 2024ce

"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

The Stone of Morphy.---This is an obelisk situated on the lands of the same name, in the western division of the parish. With reference to it, the writer of the former Account [ie the first Statistical Account] says, that it is difficult to determine whether it had been erected to preserve the memory of some gallant warrior of the name of Graham, to which Noble family the lands of Morphy originally belonged, or whether it may be a remnant of a Druidical temple; while, at the same time, he appears not to have been aware of the existence of a tradition, which says, that it was erected in memory of a son of Camus, or some other important personage in his army, who was killed here in an engagement with the Scots, after the defeat and death of the Danish leader at Panbride. The Danes, on that event, immediately retreated northward, and, according to the tradition, encountered the Scots near the Stone of Morphy; and that a battle had there taken place, is probable, from the immense number of stone-coffins, containing human bones, which have been found, particularly in and near a field called "the sick man's shade," close by the stone. The farm adjoining that on which the pillar stands, bears the name of Comeston, or, as it is written in old records, Camuston..
p282 in The New Statistical Account of Scotland, vol 11, 1845. Online at Google Books.

According to Canmore,
"it was knocked down shortly before 1856. Digging prior to re-erection revealed part of a human skeleton, buried in black unctuous earth."
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
23rd June 2005ce
Edited 30th March 2007ce