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Publication Account

Date 1985

Event ID 1016232

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account


On the north face of this 1.5m high, roughly square-sectioned stone, is the incised outline of a fish, just under 1m long, aligned vertically-head; body and tail; fins, gills and an eye; and a line dividing body from tail. There is, however, no indication of a mouth. The outline has been made by percussion, by striking with some kind of a tool, a common technique.

The fish was a familiar motif both in early Christian art and in the repertoire of Pictish symbols, and in this context it is likely to confirm the presence of Christian communities and to belong to the Yarrow Stone/Cat Stane tradition of early Christian stones.

The stone was formerly part of a gate-post lower down the farm road (hence the hole near the top); it then became part of the garden wall. Oral tradition suggests, however, that it came from near Commonside beside the River Teviot (NT 4207); that it stood in the water, and that when the fish's tail could be seen it was safe to cross! It came to Borthwick, so the tradition goes, captured after a fight between the inhabitants of the two valleys.

Information from 'Exploring Scotland's Heritage: Lothian and Borders', (1985).

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