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Birse Parish Church, Manse, Walled Garden, Pictish Symbol Stone

Cross Slab (Pictish), Pictish Symbol Stone (Pictish)

Site Name Birse Parish Church, Manse, Walled Garden, Pictish Symbol Stone

Classification Cross Slab (Pictish), Pictish Symbol Stone (Pictish)

Canmore ID 107566

Site Number NO59NE 18.02

NGR NO 555 973

NGR Description NO c. 555 973

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Aberdeenshire
  • Parish Birse
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District Kincardine And Deeside
  • Former County Aberdeenshire

Early Medieval Carved Stones Project

Birse (St Michael), Aberdeenshire, Pictish cross-slab fragment

Measurements: H 0.29m, W 0.13m

Stone type:

Place of discovery: NO c 555 973

Present location: built into the interior face of the garden wall at Birse Manse, near the church.

Evidence for discovery: first recorded in 1995.

Present condition: all edges are broken but the surviving carving is clear.


This small fragment appears to be part of a Pictish cross-slab. It is incised with a curlicue, probably the lower right portion of a cross-shaft, and a double-sided comb tucked in above. A curving line above the comb is likely to be the tip of the handle of a mirror symbol.

Date range: eighth or ninth century.

Primary references: Fraser 2008, no 5.

Desk-based information compiled by A Ritchie 2019


Field Visit (1995)

NO59NE 18.02 NO c.555 973

What is probably a fragment of a Class I Pictish symbol stone is built into a wall of the garden at Birse manse; it measures about 30cm square and bears a possible comb symbol with what may part of a 'beast'.

(Recorded by Mr J Addy, Birsieside, Birse).

NMRS, MS/712/10.

NO 555 973 Fragment of a Pictish Class 1 stone c0.30m by 0.30m; built into garden wall. Bears a comb symbol and possible part of a beast.

Reported to Grampian Region's Archaeological Service by Mr John Addy, Bireside, Birse, Aboyne. Full details are held by Grampian Regional Council SMR.

M Greig and J Addy 1995.

Reference (1997)

Class I symbol stone : fragment facing north with comb and part of an elephant.

A.Mack 1997.

Note (5 September 2003)

The curlicue, which has been interpreted as the leg of a Pictish elephant, appears instead to have formed the volute of a cross, akin to those of Dyce (see NJ81NE 8) and Formaston (see NJ50SW 1).

Information from RCAHMS (JB), 5 September 2003.


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