037 Justice Stone, Hopetoun Wood, Queensferry.
The Justice Stone is a large block of whinstone situated beside
the track running through Hopetoun Wood. The stone is well
hidden inside a clump of ewe trees and rhododendron bushes and
can be easily missed from the road. The stone measures 0.90 x
0.90 x 0.75 high.
Hopetoun Wood can be found off the A904 Queensferry to Bo'ness
road. Enter the wood at the south end near the Garden Centre and
follow the main track towards the north east. The stone is hidden
in the first clump on the left. GPS receivers may not work
correctly at this location due to the surrounding woodland.
There is no parking in the area although the car park at a nearby
garden centre may be used. Take care if walking along the road as
traffic can be busy and fast.
The stone is traditionally taken to be the place of
meetings by Barons and Knights for the purpose of
tournaments or jousts and was known in the past as the
Jousting Stone. Disputes are said to have been settled by
the Barons and Magistrates in early times at this stone.
On my first visit to this location, armed only with a 1:50,000
O.S. map and the entry from CANMORE, I must have spent two hours
searching the woods for this stone. Four foot high bracken,
dense patches of stinging nettles and the constant fear that a
gamekeeper was going to appear at any moment, all made for an
interesting day out. The stone, or rather what I thought was the
stone, was eventually found beside the track. I did have some
doubts at the time but there did not seem to be anything else
around. The stone is disappointing, being simply a rough,
un-worked boulder, but I had set myself the task of recording
all stones of interest even those as un-photogenic as this one.
Then, in January 2002, Steve at Ancient
Lothian drew may
attention to the correct stone.
My thanks to Steve for finding the correct stone and I
also forgive him for taking such great delight in telling me so!
This stone was located easily on my second trip to Hopetoun
Wood, following the directions supplied by my rival Steve. The
stone itself is good and solid and well qualified for the part.
It appears to have been worked in the past and also to have been
damaged with part of the top missing. This might be deliberate
as many so-called "pagan" stones were defaced by
religious authorities to prevent them being used.