MHG8225 - Matheson's Stone, Munlochy


A commemorative monument consisting of a red sandstone obelisk on a circular base set on top of a mound.

Type and Period (1)

  • COMMEMORATIVE MONUMENT (Erected, 18th Century - 1755 AD to 1755 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Matheson's Stone (NAT) OS 6" map, (1959)

This is a tapering pillar of red sandstone, 8'8" high 1' broad and 9" thick. It is most probable that it was erected by Mathesons, once owners of Bennetsfield, as it bears on W face initials GMK and date 1752, and on opposite face IM, EMK 1755 with Mackenzie crest (stags head), and name of John Matheson and Elizabeth - surname being hid by a clasp of iron which binds the stone. It stands on a circular, earthen mound, 10' high and c22' diameter.
ONB (1871) gives name as'Matheson's Stone' from its being erected by a Matheson in 1755 (sic).
Watson (1904), however, names it 'Clach Bhenneit' - Bennet's Stone. The neighbouring name 'Bennetsfield' supports this, while 'Chapelhead' nearby and presence of a holy well (NH65SE 9) suggest that there has been a chapel here - possibly dedicated to St. Bennet who is commemorated elsewhere in Black Isle, and who is said to be St. Benedict of Nursia (480-543).
Name Book 1871; A J Beaton 1885; W J Watson 1904. <1>-<3>

A standing stone, as described above, and set into a circular stone base 1.2m in diameter. The mound is now used as a dump for field clearance; there are traces of walling at its SE corner giving this part of the mound a square appearance.
It is known locally as Matheson's Stone.
Re-surveyed at 1/2500. Visited by OS (N K B) 17 March 1966.

Additional information was submitted by John MacDonald, a local resident:
"IM was John Matheson of Bennetsfield, son of Alexander Matheson of Bennetsfield. John, a staunch Jacobite, fought at Culloden, survived and somehow escaped the bloody retribution which followed.
EMK was John's wife Elizabeth Mackenzie, second daughter of William Mackenzie of Belmaduthy.
No date is available for their marriage, but it took place soon after he completed his education while his father was still alive, long before 1755. This disproves the theory that this is a marriage stone.
John's father died in 1754 - if his inheritance was delayed by legal complications until 1755 this would match on the stone.
GMK is almost certainly George Mackenzie, a very common name amongst the Mackenzies who owned most of the Black Isle at that time." <4>

The inscription on this stone could still be discerned until relatively recently. Mr McDonald has submitted a further photograph taken around 15 years ago which shows the inscription clearly. <5>

Information from a participant in the Black Isles Heritage Memories project; there is local folklore about this marriage stone being one of a number of stones that was thrown across the Moray Firth (by a giant). <6><7>

Sources/Archives (8)



Grid reference Centred NH 68120 53392 (12m by 12m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH65SE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish AVOCH

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