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Pictish Symbol Stone (Pictish)

Site Name Abernethy

Classification Pictish Symbol Stone (Pictish)

Alternative Name(s) Abernethy No. 1; School Wynd; Mornington; Abernethy Churchyard; Abernethy Round Tower

Canmore ID 27924

Site Number NO11NE 19

NGR NO 18990 16392

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish Abernethy (Perth And Kinross)
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Perth And Kinross
  • Former County Perthshire


Abernethy 1 (?St Bridget), Perthshire, Pictish symbol stone fragment

Measurements: H 0.84m, W 0.56m, D

Stone type: granite

Place of discovery: NO 1899 1639

Present location: set on a plinth against Abernethy round tower, next to the gate into the graveyard.

Evidence for discovery: discovered in the foundations of a house in the burgh in the nineteenth century and built into another house before the end of the century, before being set against the east side of the round tower sometime in the twentieth century.

Present condition: carving in good condition.


The stone was trimmed for re-use in such a way that most of four symbols have survived (the reverse of the slab is hidden). It is incised with the tuning fork symbol, flanked by a hafted hammer and an anvil, and below there is the upper left part of a crescent and V-rod with an internal double-spiral design.

Date: seventh century.

References: Butler 1897, 229-30, pl 1; ECMS pt 3, 282; Proudfoot 1997, 48; Fraser 2008, no 175.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016.

Archaeology Notes

NO11NE 19 18990 16392

For Abernethy Round Tower (NO 1899 1638), see NO11NE 1.

Symbol Stone No. 1: A symbol stone was dug out of the foundation of a house in Abernethy and is now built into the wing of the entrance to Miss Murray's house, on the east side of the street (School Wynd) leading from the railway station to the Round Tower (NO11NE 1), a few hundred yards from the tower, and less than a quarter of a mile from the station. It is a portion of a granite slab, 2'9" high by 1'10" wide. On one side it bears a 'tuning fork' symbol, a crescent -and - V - rod, a hammer, and what may be an anvil.

J R Allen and J Anderson 1903.

The house described by J R Allen and J Anderson (1903) is 'Mornington', School Wynd, Abernethy (NO 1896 1649) The symbol stone was removed from it some years ago and is now built against the east side of the Round Tower (NO11NE 1) at NO 1899 1639.

The original find spot of the stone could not be identified.

Visited by OS (W D J) 4 August 1965.

This Pictish symbol stone that was dug out of the foundations of a house in Abernethy (original findspot unknown) now stands at the base of the Abernethy Round Tower (NO11NE 1); it has been set on a plinth and is afforded some protection from the weather by a projecting stone lintel. Composed of a pinkish granite, it has been reused as a building stone and trimmed to its present dimensions of 0.9m in height, 0.65m in maximum breadth, and 0.21m in thickness. The symbols, which are deeply incised and clearly visible, comprise: a ?tuning-fork? above a crescent-and-V-rod, both enriched by abstract curvilinear decoration; and, to their left and right respectively, a hammer and ?anvil?. Both the ?tuning-fork? and crescent-and-V-rod have been truncated by the recutting of the stone.

Visited by RCAHMS (IF, JRS), 27 November 1996.

Class I symbol stone bearing a tuning fork above a crescent-and V-rod with a hammer on the left and an anvil on the right.

A Mack 1997.


Publication Account (1987)

It is probable that Abernethy was a place of some importance throughout the Dark Ages. It is mentioned in the margin of one of the surviving copies of the Pictish king-list and some scholars believe that the king-list may have been compiled here in some vanished Pictish monastery, perhaps related to the tower. Several early carved stones have been found in the vicinity, including the Pictish symbol stone now set against the wall of the tower, beside the gate into the churchyard. This is a 7th century stone,incomplete but bearing four sharply incised symbols: a 'tuning fork' flanked on either side by a hammer and anvil, and below a crescent and V-rod. Alongside is a metal collar, or jougs, by which offenders were chained as punishment in medieval times.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: Fife and Tayside’, (1987).


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