MHG14277 - Carved grave slab fragment, Rosemarkie No 11 - East Watergate, Fortrose


Part of a grave slab carved on one face but much eroded/worn. The original slab has been re-shaped for use as a step or cill. The thickness and shape of the stone are suggestive of it being part of a recumbent graveslab. The tapering recessed panel contains a square motif in relief with a grooved border. Discovered in a rockery in East Watergate, Fortrose in 1989.

Type and Period (2)

  • CARVED STONE (Pictish to Early Medieval - 300 AD? to 1057 AD?)
  • GRAVE SLAB? (Pictish to Early Medieval - 300 AD to 1057 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A fragment of a Class II Pictish symbol stone was found in a rockery. Now in Groam House Museum.
RGB 23.5.90

A fragment of sculptured stone, carved in low relief. It comprises a broad marginal band, inhabited by human figures, framing a rectangular panel. In the centre of this a raised rectangular panel is filled by four triquetra knots (Groam House 1992.8).

Rosemarkie 11, Ross & Cromarty, recumbent graveslab fragment
Measurements: H 0.45m, W 0.76m, D 0.16m
Stone type: sandstone
Place of discovery: NH 7372 5763
Present location: Groam House Museum, Rosemarkie (ROMGH.1992.8)
Evidence for discovery: found in a garden rockery in Fortrose in 1989.
Present condition: broken and very worn.
This rectangular fragment has been trimmed down, probably for building purposes, from the head-end of a very large recumbent gravestone. Only the left-hand edge is original. The stone is carved in relief on one broad face, with a central sunken panel and a wide border of figural ornament. The sunken panel is bordered with a roll moulding and contains a raised square defined by a roll moulding, and double roll mouldings divide the square into four triangles, each filled with a triquetra knot. Within the border there is a figure on either side of the sunken panel, facing inwards, and a quadruped above the panel, but the details of the scene depicted are sadly obscured by wear. Below the feet of the figures are plain panels.
Date: ninth or tenth century.
References: Henderson& Henderson 2004, 200; Seright & Henderson 2013, 9.
Early Medieval Carved Stones Project, A Ritchie 2017. <1>

This fragment was found in 1989 in a rock garden of a house built in the 1960s at East Watergate, Fortrose. It is possible that this piece could be that which is described by C Urquhart (1935) as being too heavy to lift and measure. This massive fragment is decorated on one face only. A tapering recessed panel contains a square motif in relief with a grooved border, the lines of which continue into the centre and which are interlaced to divide the square into four triangles filled with a three-looped knot known as a triquetra. The panel has a narrow edge beyond which is an elaborately decorated broad border, now very worn. The fragment is part of an ambitious monument. The tapering panel suggests that the monument, when complete, tapered (compare ROMGH.1992.7.1&2 (MHG47318)). The fragment was either a comparatively shallow recumbent gravemarker or tomb lid. Its relief decoration is unsuitable for a cross-marked grave slab. Indeed there is no evidence that it bore a cross. Pictish recumbent grave markers do not depict crosses. <2>

Note; Precise find spot not known so indicative find area only (T.Blackie 3/3/2021).

Sources/Archives (2)



Grid reference Centred NH 7279 5681 (20m by 20m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH75NW
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (1)

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