MHG1154 - Ogham Inscribed Symbol Stone - Latheron


No summary available.

Type and Period (2)

  • OGHAM INSCRIBED STONE (Early Medieval - 561 AD to 1057 AD)
  • INSCRIBED STONE (Early Medieval - 561 AD to 1057 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A rectangular slab bearing on one face a double rectangular figure in relief with double-spiral and interlaced patterns; below it, incised, a bird, a fish, and two horsemen; and down the left side of these inscriptions, a line of Ogham characters reading DUNNODNNAT MAQQ NETO, which was noticed in 1903 in the inside wall of a barn 1/4 mile S of Latheron Post Office, was donated to the NMAS in 1905 by Sir Francis Tress Barry (Acc No: IB 183).
J Anderson 1904; Proc Soc Antiq Scot 1905; RCAHMS 1911.

This symbol stone was found at ND 1981 3315.
Visited by OS (N K B) 25 March 1968.

A stone incised with a portion of Celtic cross (ND13SE 26) was also found at this position and is now at ND 1990 3341.

Class II symbol stone (fragment) showing on the carved face an eagle and salmon with an Ogam inscription.
A.Mack 1997 p.37

The stone to build the barn is thought locally to have come from a site to the south known as 'Chapel stones' (see MHG1159). There are historical sources which refer to Edward I of England sending officials to Caithness to meet the ill-fated Maid of Norway in 1290 AD, and his envoys spent the night of 3 October at a place on the route north called 'hospital'. It would have meant a long and inconvenient detour inland for St Magnus' Hospice at Spital to be meant here, whereas such a foundation at Latheron would fit in perfectly with the English party's itinerary. A field visit by T Blackie revealed a line of massive foundation stones approximately 40m long. A modern boundary fence lies on the line of these stone blocks and thus gives the impression from a distance that this is a cairn of stones cleared from the fields on either side. However, the size, alignment and regularity of the stones all argue strongly that these are dressed stones froming the lower course of a substantial building. An unpublished paper by a local clergyman in the 1940s gives a sketch of the site and states that it is 'thought to be the remains of an abbey', but otherwise there do not seem to be any modern references. <1>

Sources/Archives (9)



Grid reference Centred ND 1980 3315 (10m by 10m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet ND13SE
Civil Parish LATHERON
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (1)

  • SYMBOL STONE (Pictish to Early Medieval - 300 AD to 1057 AD)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (1)

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