MHG7082 - Princess' Stone, Glenferness


No summary available.

Type and Period (2)

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

Protected Status

Full Description

Currently on private land, no access without permission. DL30/8/99

NH94SW 10 9366 4261 moved from to 9364 4253.
(NH 9364 4253) Princess' Stone (AT) (Sculptured) (NAT)
OS 6"map, Nairnshire, 1st ed., (1869)

Princess Stone (NAT) OS 6"map, (1959)

An upright sculptured cross-slab of greenish soft sandstone, standing under an ash-tree on a small cairn of earth and stones.
The slab is rectangular, broken away at the top, 5'6" high by 2'2" wide by 4" thick. It has been broken in three pieces which are now carefully joined with cement and kept in position by a stone post on each side supported by iron stays. The surface of the stone is weathered to such an extent that parts of the sculpture have disappeared, and its interpretation is further complicated by hard bands of quartz across the stone.
It is sculptured in relief on four faces, the front bearing a cross interlacing spirals and human figures. The back bears interlacing, an archer the elephant symbol, the crescent and v-rod, double-disc, z-rod and a hound. Interlacing on both sides of the stone is now hidden by the supporting posts.
Allen (Allen & Anderson 1903) calls the stone 'the Princes' Stone but the legend associated with it is of a princess who drowned in the river nearby.
G Anderson and P Anderson 1842; J R Allen and J Anderson 1903.

'Princess Stone' (sic) a sculptured stone generally as described by Allen, was removed to NH 9366 4261 about 14 years ago because it was endangered by floods. Nothing was found beneath it. The stone now protrudes 1.6m above ground level, part of the 'elephant' symbol being below ground.
Visited by OS (R L) 4 February 1971.

Class II symbol stone ( known as the Princess Stone).The cross is on SW face and below are figures.On reverse the lower of two panels holds an elephant over a crescent and V-rod below which are a double disc and Z-rod and another elephant. To left of the upper symbols are figure of a hooded crossbowman and a hound.
A.Mack 1997 p.108

Glenferness, Nairn, cross-slab
Measurements: H 1.68m above ground, W 0.66m, D 0.10m
Stone type: sandstone
Place of discovery: NH 9364 4253
Present location: NH 93651 42602, south-west of Glenferness House.
Evidence for discovery: recorded by Stuart in the mid nineteenth century, when it stood closer to the River Findhorn, but still within the deep meander of the river. The stone was presumably broken when it was moved, sometime later in the nineteenth century (prior to the description in ECMS), and the three pieces were cemented together and supported by a concrete post on either side, themselves initially strengthened by iron guys.
Present condition: severely weathered, broken into three pieces and lacking part of the top.
This is a triangular-headed rectangular slab, carved in relief on both broad faces and on the vertical narrow faces, with a roll moulding outlining each face. On face A, an equal-armed cross with sunken circular armpits has been carved so high into the triangular top that the upper side-arms are truncated, and the upper arm must have been truncated on both sides to fit it into the apex. The surviving arms are filled with interlace, but the central area is completely worn away. Flanking the lower arm are panels containing two pairs of double spirals, above a large oval central panel devoted to double spirals. A small panel at the base of face A contains two human figures apparently embracing, and there is very worn ornament on either side.
Face C is divided into an upper panel of possibly zoomorphic interlace, and a main panel containing four symbols: a small Pictish beast above a small crescent and V-rod, and beside them a crouching archer with a cross-bow, then a large double disc and Z-rod above a large Pictish beast. Other areas are too worn to make out the carving.
The narrow sides bear interlace work, which may have continued up over the top of the slab.
Date: eighth or ninth century.
References: Stuart 1856, pl 24; ECMS pt 3, 115-16; Fraser 2008, no 116.
Early Medieval Carved Stones Project, A Ritchie 2018

Sources/Archives (7)



Grid reference Centred NH 9365 4260 (6m by 6m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH94SW
Civil Parish ARDCLACH
Geographical Area NAIRN

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