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Ninewells, Macduff's Cross

Boundary Marker (Period Unassigned), Cross (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Ninewells, Macduff's Cross

Classification Boundary Marker (Period Unassigned), Cross (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Whinnybank; Newburgh, Macduff's Cross

Canmore ID 30145

Site Number NO21NW 9

NGR NO 2271 1678

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Fife
  • Parish Newburgh
  • Former Region Fife
  • Former District North East Fife
  • Former County Fife

Archaeology Notes

NO21NW 9 2271 1678

See also NO21NW 37.

(NO 2271 1678) Macduff's Cross (NR)

Cup Marked Stone (NR)

OS 6" map, (1959)

Macduff's Cross is a sandstone boulder about 3ft 3ins high by 3ft 6ins wide, roughly cubical, resting on an earthen platform and surrounded by a setting of smaller stones erected by Newburgh Town Council in 1851. (A Laing 1876).

The top, marked with distinct cups (formed by the weathering out of nodules of iron pyrites) (J Stuart 1856) from 1 1/2 to 3ins in width and from 1/2 to 1 1/2 ins in depth, is slightly hollowed although there is no indication of a socket, despite the current story that the cross itself was thrown down and destroyed by Reformers in 1559, and the report by Gardon (A Gordon 1727) of a socket or cavity in 1727, not seen by Stuart.

According to the RCAHMS, the name, currently in popular use, does not occur in local records until 1814 but Skene, in 1641, wrote of "the Cross of Clan Makduffe" and described the right of sanctuary at the cross for members of the clan. It was described as " our ancient.. march stone" by Sir Thomas Balfour, who died in 1657 (RCAHMS 1933). Skene saw the stones of the cross inscribed with "sundry barbarous words and verses", which had disappeared by 1648 and Sibbald recorded the date '1059' and some unintelligible letters of which he gave two equally dubious versions, from a drawing copied from notes given to Sir James Balfour, (which show a simple outline elevation of a Greek cross on a square base {R Sibbald 1710}).

When the field was first ploughed, a 'rude sort of pavement' discovered on the hillock, 30 paces south of the cross was thought to be the floor of a cell or oratory associated with the Cross (A Laing 1876).

A Gordon 1727; J Stuart 1856; A Laing 1876; RCAHMS 1933; R Sibbald 1710.

Macduff's Cross (name confirmed locally) is a cubic boulder set on a circular platform and is as described by the RCAHMS and Stuart. The"cup marks"are the results of weathering.

Two fragments of ornamented sandstone at Easter Clunie (NO21NW 37) alleged to be part of the cross, are probably 8th/10th century.

30m to the S, at NO 2271 1675, is a slight knoll, but no trace of the "pavement" described by A Laing (1876) exists.

Visited by OS (J L D) 26 October 1956 and (J P) 3 June 1970.

Probably a boundary marker.

(Undated) information on OS record card.

Macduff's Cross. Large sandstone boulder with eight cupmarks on top.

J Gifford 1988.


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