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Moncrieffe House, Boar Stone Of Gask

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

Site Name Moncrieffe House, Boar Stone Of Gask

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

Alternative Name(s) Gask, Bore Stone; Moncrieffe House Policies; Moncrieffe House Cross

Canmore ID 28011

Site Number NO11NW 10

NGR NO 1366 1933

NGR Description Removed from NN 9730 1813

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish Dunbarney
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Perth And Kinross
  • Former County Perthshire

Early Medieval Carved Stones Project (18 May 2016)

Gask (Bore Stone), Perthshire, cross-slab

Measurements: H 1.88m +, W 1.08m, D 0.23m

Stone type: Old Red Sandstone

Place of discovery: NN 9730 1813

Present location: beside Moncrieffe House at NO 1366 1933

Evidence for discovery: first recorded by James Skene around 1832 in a field at Gask, when the stone was already damaged (this suggests that it had fallen and been re-erected at some time prior to that date). It was moved to the garden of Moncrieffe House towards the end of the nineteenth century.

Present condition: very weathered and worn, and the top of the slab is missing.


This once magnificent cross-slab is carved in relief on both broad faces and was probably more than two metres high before the upper part was broken. Each bears a ringed cross, the armpits of which are cut through the stone to form voids. The crosses are almost, but not quite, identical, each outlined by a roll moulding and with a square central panel in the head, rectangular terminals and scrolls hanging from the underside of the arms and from the base of the ring on either side of the shaft. Traces of panels of interlace patterns are visible within the cross on face A, including at least four panels in the shaft. There are animals and figures in the background to the cross, and it should be noted that Ian G Scott’s drawing, which is followed here, is significantly different from the interpretative drawing published in Trench-Jellicoe (1997, illus 4). The ornament is arranged in five registers either side of the cross-shaft: on the right, from the top, a quadruped facing right, a wolf with an enmeshed tail and a smaller animal in its jaws facing left, a quadruped facing right towards a human figure with a spear, two confronted quadrupeds, a human figure in a tunic facing right towards a defaced area; on the left, from the top, a long-legged quadruped facing left, a boar facing right, a boar facing left, a seated quadruped with a long tail, and a scene with at least one human figure.

On face C there are at least four panels of interlace pattern in the cross-shaft, including a middle panel where the interlace forms a cross. To the right of the shaft there are six registers of ornament, from the top a quadruped facing left, a boar with exaggerated bristles facing left above a similar boar facing right, a serpent and Z-rod symbol above a horse-rider facing left and a double-headed flower symbol, and at the bottom a horse-rider facing left and a hound. To the left of the shaft there are five registers, from the top two centaurs one on top of the other facing left with spiral hair and tail, above a horned animal and a small animal facing left, a quadruped whose tail ends in a serpent’s head, and finally two large spirals. Allen remarked of this cross-slab that ‘the collection of animals represented is one of the most remarkable on any early Christian monument in great Britain’ (ECMS pt 3, 292).

Date: ninth century.

References: ECMS pt 3, 291; Trench-Jellicoe 1997, 164-8; Fraser 2008, no 183.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016

Archaeology Notes

NO11NW 10 1366 1933 removed from NN 9730 1813

(NN 9730 1813) Bore Stone (NR)

OS 6" map, Perthshire, 1st ed., (1866)

(NO 1328 1932) Bore Stone (NAT)

OS 6"map, (1959)

The Borestone (J R Allen and J Anderson 1903) or Boar Stone (J Stuart 1856) of Gask which formerly stood in a field on the south side of the road from Gask House to Gask Church, is now on the south side of the carriage drive to Moncrieffe House (NO11NW 41.00). It is a mutilated upright cross-slab of red sandstone, 6ft 4ins high and sculptured on two faces. Holes are pierced right through the stone in the hollows between the arms of the cross. Some of the animals depicted resemble boars which may account for the name.

J Stuart 1856; J R Allen and J Anderson 1903.

As described above. The precise original site of the stone was not ascertained.

Visited by OS (R D L) 9 June 1964.

The Boar Stone of Gask was moved to the grounds of Moncrieffe House when roadworks threatened it.

Re-surveyed at 1:2500 at NO 1366 1933

(See Gask, Bore stone NN91NE 26)

Information from OS Reviser 29 August 1980.

The Bore Stone of Gask, a Class II Pictish stone, stands on the lawn immediately to the S of the conservatory that has been built onto the W end of Moncrieffe House (NO11NW 41.00). The stone is heavily weathered and incomplete, having lost the upper portion of the cross-head. Each face bears a ring-cross carved in relief, with traces of panels of interlace on the shaft.

The stone is unusual in that the elliptical hollows between the arms of the crosses have been cut to penetrate through the slab. In addition, the cross on the S face has spiral volutes as terminals to its horizontal arms. On each face there are panels of men, animals and mythological beasts to either side of the shaft. The panel to the right of the shaft on the S face also incorporates a serpent-and-Z-rod, and flower symbols.

Visited by RCAHMS (JRS, IF), 9 December 1996.

Class II symbol stone with crosses on both faces .On the south face are animals and two mounted figures,above one of which is a serpent and Z-rod and below which is a flower.

A.Mack 1997.


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