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Brodie Description of stone

Date 31 August 2016

Event ID 1013679

Category Descriptive Accounts



Brodie, Rodney’s Stone, Moray, Pictish cross-slab

Measurements: H 1.90m +, W 1.05m tapering upwards to 0.95m, D 0.12m

Stone type: grey sandstone

Place of discovery: NH 9842 5766

Present location: beside the driveway leading to Brodie Castle (National Trust for Scotland).

Evidence for discovery: found in 1781 in the old churchyard during digging for the foundations of a new parish church at Dyke. It was set up first in Dyke village and sometime before 1832 it was moved to the grounds of Brodie Castle. It had been re-used as a recumbent grave-slab, probably in the early eighteenth century, with face A uppermost.

Present condition: face A is very weathered, but face C is better preserved, and the base has been trimmed.


This rectangular slab is carved in relief on both broad faces within a flatband moulding. The moulding has been used for to incise three ogham inscriptions, one along the right-hand side of face A and two on either side of face C, which together represent the longest ogham inscription in Scotland. The inscription is largely unintelligible but includes the personal name Ethernan (Forsyth 1996). The question of whether it was contemporary with the relief carving remains open.

A cross with open circular armpits spans the length and breadth of face A, framed by a roll moulding. It is filled entirely with interlaced knotwork. There are badly weathered panels of zoomorphic ornament in the background to the cross, and those on either side of the shaft have a small recessed panel hollowed out to enable the letters AC and KB to be cut, when the slab was re-used as a recumbent grave-slab.

Face C bears three huge Pictish symbols one above the other: a pair of S-dragons, a Pictish beast facing right and a double disc and Z-rod, all heavily ornamented (the lower part of the Z-rod is missing). The S-dragons are guarding five smaller motifs, and their own internal decoration includes spirals, pellets and triquetra knots.

Date: ninth century.

References: Skene 1932; Stuart 1856, pls 22 & 23; ECMS pt 3, 132-5; Forsyth 1996, 139-59; Fraser 2008, no 151.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016

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