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

Folklore Posts by markj99

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The Bull Stone (Natural Rock Feature)

The monument comprises a large rock outcrop into which a vestry was excavated in 1825, to accommodate the parish minister while he conducted openair services.

Pulpit Rock, or Clach nan Tarbh (the stone of the bulls), lies some 2km south of Ardlui. In 1825 parisioners living in the northern part of the Parish of Arrochar complained of the distance that they had to travel to church services, some 13km each way. The Minister, the Reverend Peter Proudfoot, responded to his parishioners' complaint saying that if they would build him a vestry he would come and preach to them on certain occasions. The parishioners cut and then blasted a hole in the rock large enough to accommodate the Minister, an Elder and the Precentor.

The shelter in the rock formed the vestry. It had a wooden door and was reached by a flight of steps. A wooden pulpit was fixed to a platform bolted on to the side of the rock. Services were held during the summer months for about 75 years until 1895 when a mission church was established in Ardlui. During the services the congregation sat on the ground around Pulpit Rock.

When the West Highland Railway was built it passed to the west of the rock, so avoiding this religious landmark.

Historically the monument is of national importance as a relatively late example of an open-air preaching site, and is a rare example of the modification of a natural site by blasting to provide a vestry.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

The above information is taken from Pulpit Rock on Ancient Monuments website.

Heaven Stone (Holed Stone)

I don’t own a copy of Ecclesiological notes on some of the islands of Scotland (1885) by TS Muir. I would hazard a guess that not many people do. However, the book is used as a reference in Canmore ID 10939 (go to Links) for Trumpan Church in Skye.
Therefore I would like to acknowledge Malcolm H Jones for a quote from pages 270-1 posted on MyCanmore Text in Canmore ID 10939. Canmore does not mention the Heaven Stone in its account however Muir has an account of the stone and its tradition.
Muir describes it as "a rude undressed pillar called 'The Trying Stone,' to which, according to local tradition, accused persons were taken, and there, through a venturesome appeal to the object, made manifest their innocence or their guilt. It is a massy whin, 4 ft. 8 in. in height, with a downwardly-bent cavity of an inch and a half in diameter near to its top. As the story goes, the appellant was placed within a certain distance of the stone, and then, approaching it blindfold, established his innocence only by unerringly putting his finger into the cavity."

Giant's Grave (Sma' Glen) (Standing Stone / Menhir)

'Near to the entrance to the Glen were the grassy embankments of a Roman Camp, but a feature of the valley that interested me more than this relic of the dim past was a great boulder about a mile beyond. It stood a little aside from the highway, and a much used path leading to it was evidence that it had many visitors. What the attraction was, I could not have conjectured, had I not heard its story previously. It had a smooth, rounding top, and rose above the ground to a height of seven or eight feet. At its base lay three heavy stones, the largest about the size of a peck measure.
It was a common custom among travellers who happened into Glen Urtach to try 'Saddling the Mare' that is, to attempt putting the stones up on the boulder. They slid off with surprising ease, and few persons had the strength or cleverness to lodge all three. Still it was allowable to boast, even if you only succeeded with the two smaller ones. That the sport was a popular one was attested by the battered whiteness of the top of the boulder.' The Land of Heather. Clifton Johnson (1903).

The above quote attests to the tradition of Saddlin the Mare when passing through the Sma' Glen. There were three stones of increasing weight to place on the top slope of the stone without falling off. The route through the sma' glen was a drovers road so the tradition may derive from ancient times.
There is a moderately sized stone at the base of the rock so it may be one of the original 'saddles'. It is interesting that a stone is 'saddled' on top of the rock in Andy's pictures so the tradition appears to be continuing.

The Muckle Stane (Monkton) (Natural Rock Feature)

At the Cross is The Hare Stane, moved here from its original site in a field off Charles Avenue. The boulder had a long tradition of witchcraft and evil spirits associated with it, but in 2000 it was moved to its present position and a sealed "Millennium Box" placed beneath it.

The above quote is taken from P.232 Ayshire: Discovering A County by Dane Love (2003).

Templand Mains (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Canmore ID 65264 (go to Links) states that Templand Mains standing stone is the "remains of a stone circle which gives its name to the farm "Temple-land" on which it stands (Scots Mag 1806). Two of the stones were still standing in 1806 (R M F Watson 1901) and one in 1913."
I love to travel, especially to antiquarian sites. I'm working through the extensive Cornwall site list with an annual week holiday. Avebury is my favourite spiritual destination. Las Vegas is my favourite sinful destination.

I also enjoy hill climbing however as time passes the hills grow steeper. I have climbed around 30 munros, however, I've also climbed The Cobbler, Stac Pollaidh and Suilven so height is not the only criteria.

I used to play golf (9 handicap) and support Queen of the South however I gave up both bad habits. Horse racing was a more recent obsession. Epsom and Newmarket are my favourite racecourses. At the moment my current obsession is music gigs: Arcade Fire, Dinosaur Jr, Sparks, Jesus and Mary Chain and Belle & Sebastian, my favourite band.

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