MHG8844 - Carved stone, panel fragments, Rosemarkie No. 2 - Rosemarkie graveyard


Sandstone panel carved in relief on one face with very regular key-patterns, spirals and pellets and in two pieces. When complete the panel may have been part of an internal space divider or box-shaped monument. It may have been one of the"… stone coffins of rude workmanship.." discovered while repairing the church in 1735 "in a vault under a very ancient steeple".

Type and Period (4)

  • CARVED STONE (Pictish to Early Medieval - 300 AD to 1057 AD)
  • ALTAR? (Pictish to Early Medieval - 300 AD to 1057 AD)
  • SHRINE? (Pictish to Early Medieval - 300 AD to 1057 AD)
  • COFFIN? (Pictish to Early Medieval - 300 AD to 1057 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

No. 2. A Class 3 sculptured stone, in at least four fragments, bears a key pattern on one face. It measured 3ft 4 1/2ins x 1ft 9 1/2ins x 2ins thick. It lay for many years on the grave of Donald Bain, but is now in the tool-shed of the church.
J R Allen and J Anderson 1903; RCAHMS 1979.

Rosemarkie 2, Ross & Cromarty, church furniture, panel fragments
Measurements: L 1.62m, H 0.53m-0.57m, D 0.05m
Stone type: grey sandstone
Place of discovery: NH 7372 5763
Present location: Groam House Museum, Rosemarkie (ROMGH.1992.3.2)
Evidence for discovery: found in the churchyard in re-use as a recumbent slab over a post-Reformation grave, placed with the carved face downwards. It was first recorded around 1850 by Stuart. Allen’s measurements refer to the larger fragment, although his illustration shows both fragments as if complete and he describes the entire panel.
Present condition: broken into two fragments but the carving is in good condition, despite some wear.
Three edges of this slab are dressed into a rectangle, but the fourth and lower edge has been left undressed. One broad face is carved in low relief, leaving a wide uncarved area at the base. The ornament is divided into three equal panels above a continuous basal border of key pattern. The central panel is filled with a spiraliform version of diagonal key pattern, while the panels on either side are filled with diagonal key pattern interspersed with pellets.
Date: eighth or ninth century.
References: Stuart 1856, pl 108; ECMS pt 3, 85-6; Henderson 1990, [18]; Henderson & Henderson 2004, 206-7; Seright & Henderson 2013, 9.
Early Medieval Carved Stones Project, A Ritchie 2017.

This panel was one of a collection of carved stones previously stored in the disused vestry/grave-diggers' store attached to Rosemarkie Church, and brought into Groam House Museum in 1982. The panel, now broken in two, is carved in relief on one face. One long side, presumably the top, and the two short sides, are cut straight. The other long side has an uncarved area beneath a border of key-pattern that runs the length of the slab. The panel is divided into three fields of decoration. The central panel, which has tapering sides, is filled with a diagonally set key-pattern with spiral terminals to the interlocking elements. The corners have T-shapes and there are pellets on the perimeter. Panels of similar size and with identical key-pattern flank the central panel. Here the pellets are dispersed throughout the key-pattern. The panel may be part of one of the "… stone coffins of rude workmanship.. ." described in the 1794 Statistical Account as being discovered while repairing the church in 1735 "in a vault under a very ancient steeple". It is recorded by Stuart (1856) as having been "removed from the old church", and later by Allen (1903) and Urquhart (1935) as covering the grave of a Donald Bain, but its location was not noted. <1>

NGR adjusted based on 2015 aerial photographs. <2>

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

Sources/Archives (5)



Grid reference Centred NH 7372 5763 (4m by 4m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH75NW
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (1)

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.