MHG45104 - Pictish Symbol Stones - Congash


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Type and Period (1)

  • INSCRIBED STONE (Pictish - 300 AD to 900 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

NJ02NE 1 0580 2622.
Chapel (NR) (Site of): Sculptured Stones: Burial Ground (Disused).
OS 6" map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1903)

An enclosure (said to be the site of an old chapel and burial ground) in which are two sculptured stones lying at the S end (Name Book 1871). J Stuart (1867) and J R Allen and J Anderson (1903) figure two Pictish symbol stones 'situated within a small circular enclosure' on the farm of Congash, and the former says that on the same farm are 'similar structures believed locally to be ancient burial grounds.'
Name Book 1871; J Stuart 1867; J R Allen and J Anderson 1903.

No.1 forms the jamb on the right-hand side on entering the enclosure and is a slab of blue gneiss of irregular shape, 3 feet 2 inches high by 2 feet 2 inches wide at the bottom, and 1 foot 7 inches wide at the top by 10 inches thick, sculptured with incised lines on one face thus-
Front.- At the top, the horse-shoe symbol and below it the elephant symbol. The horse-shoe is ornamented with curved lines.
No.2 forms the jamb on the left-hand side on entering the enclosure and is a slab of blue gneiss of irregular shape, 3 feet 9 inches high by 2 feet 6 inches wide by 5 inches thick, sculptured with incised lines on one face thus.-
Front.- At the top of the double disc and Z-shaped rod symbol and below it a figure resembling a helmet transfixed by an arrow.
The discs of the first symbol are ornamented with circles, one inside the other, but not concentric; and the second symbol has a small circle in the centre and straight lines at right angles to the arrows.
J R Allen and J Anderson 1903

The remains of an enclosure, known locally to have been an old burial ground, and two Pictish symbol stones, which have been used as portal stones for the entrance to the burial ground, located in a near level pasture field. The burial ground, which measures 35.0m N to S by 29.0m transversely, is enclosed by a stony bank, spread to an average width of 3.0m and 0.8m high. The entire central area is covered by modern field clearance, and no trace of the chapel remains, but a patch of nettles in the centre of the enclosure may mark the site.
The two symbol stones are as illustrated by J R Allen, the stone on the W side of the entrance being clear and well-incised, while that on the E side has weathered considerably.
The present farmer does not know of any 'similar burial grounds' on his land, but there is an almost circular stony mound, 30.0m in diameter and 3.0m high, surmounted by three trees, at NJ 0591 2639, which may be artificial. Vast quantities of field clearance have been added around its base.
Surveyed at 1/2500.
Visited by OS (R B) 7 September 1966.

Congash Nos. 1 and 2. Two Pictish symbol stones were found in a small circular enclosure on Congash Farm, one on the E side of the entrance and one on the W. No. 1 is of blue gneiss, measuring 0.96m x 0.66m x 0.25m and bears the horseshoe and elephant symbols. It has weathered considerably. No. 2 is in good condition and the incised decoration still very clear. It measures 1.14m x 0.76m x 0.12m, is of blue gneiss and bears the double disc and Z-rod, and an unusual symbol which looks like a helmet pierced by an arrow.
Information from R Jones to OS, 1980.

The monument consists of the footings of a chapel and its associated burial ground, on either side of the entrance to which stands a stone with Pictish symbols.
The enclosure is a flattened circle on plan and measures approximately 35m N-S by 29m E-W. It is enclosed by a stony bank, now approximately 0.8m high, and spread to an average width of 3.0m. The interior of the enclosure is dotted with stones, the result of field clearance over many years, but the footings of a rectangular structure can be traced amidst the later piled stones.
On the S side of the enclosure stand two stones, apparently flanking the entrance to the enclosure; both of these bear Pictish symbols on the inner sides of the jambs. The stone to the W is approximately 1.15m high and 0.8m wide and the carving is clear and well incised; it bears a double disc and Z-rod symbol above a symbol which has been likened to a helmet transfixed by an arrow. The stone to the E is approximately 1m high by 0.65m wide at the bottom and 0.5m wide at the top, and the carvings - a so-called horse-shoe symbol above a so-called elephant symbol - are more heavily weathered. Both stones are of blue gneiss.
There is no documentary evidence to identify the site as that of a chapel and burial ground, but local tradition holds this view. The field in which the site stands is called Parc-an-Caipel. The lack of documentary evidence may suggest that the chapel is of early date.
Information from Historic Scotland, [1995].

Two class I symbol stones.
Congash 1 : Horseshoe above an elephant.
Congash 2 : Double-disc and Z-rod above a helmet.
A.Mack 1997 p.106

Site visited and photographed by John Halliday, 30/09/03. Highland Archaeology Challenge. See assoc. docs. File.
J Aikten : 20/01/04.

Access Audit 104 - HAW 11/2003

See links below to HES Canmore records for additional photos.

Add to bibliography:
Fraser, Iain 2008. The Pictish Symbol Stones of Scotland no. 90 <1>

GIS spatial data amended in 2021 according to approximate locations of the stones as shown on OS MasterMap. <2>

Sources/Archives (12)



Grid reference Centred NJ 0579 2620 (9m by 7m) (3 map features)
Map sheet NJ02NE

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Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

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