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Publication Account

Date 1985

Event ID 1016631

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account


The Clach Mannan (from the Gaelic, Stone of the Manau) is a natural whinstone boulder which, in 1833, was placed on the top of an impressive monolith next to the Tolbooth in Clackmannan. For many years it had been kept in Clackmannan Tower (see no. 38) but it is reputed to have come originally from the foot of Lookaboutye Brae about 1km to the south (NS (912911).

As the name suggests, the stone is associated with the Manau, a local iron-age tribal group; its precise function, however, is unknown but it may have marked the site of the rallying point for the tribe or indicated a sacred place. The ritual use of a boulder, whether decorated (as are several of the Irish examples) or plain, was not uncommon in the Celtic world, but this practice should not be confused with the much earlier bronze-age tradition of erecting standing stones. Another well-known example can be seen at Lochmaben, Dumfries, where a large natural boulder, the Clockmabon stone, is associated with the worship of the Celtic god, Maponus. The Manau are also remembered in the placename, Slammanan, which lies on the south side of the Forth.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: The Clyde Estuary and Central Region’, (1985).

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