Yarrow Stone, Whitefield, Yarrow.
This well-known early Christian monument stands 50m north west
of the A708 Selkirk to Moffat road at a point about 1000m west
of Yarrow Church, and close to the track that leads to
Whitefield. It is an irregular, shouldered slab of whinstone,
1.35m in height as now set, 0.82m in greatest width and 0.35m in
general thickness. The stone is surrounded by a wooden fence. It
was turned up by the plough at the beginning of the 19th century
and when this ground, then a moor known as Annan Street, was
first brought under cultivation. It was then lying prone just
under the surface and the remains of human bones were found
underneath it. At this time there were about twenty "large
cairns" on the moor. After having been removed to Bowhill
for examination, it was returned to Annan Street and was erected
at the place of its original discovery. The east face of the
stone bears a Latin inscription, roughly executed and in parts
badly wasted, which has caused much trouble to epigraphists.
Little of the inscription on the east face can be made out.
The stone is off the A708 Selkirk to Moffat Road, less than a mile
from Yarrow village. It can be seen from the road, just off the
farm track leading to Whitefield.
A small lay-by can be found near the site and a larger parking
area can be seen at Yarrow Bridge. Take care as the road can be
busy at times.
The Yarrow Stone, also known as the Liberalis Stone, was
set up to mark the grave of two British Christian
chieftains. It dates from the early 6th century and falls
into place in the Early Christian series more richly
represented in Wales and Cornwall. The position chosen for
the burial was not a churchyard but a small cemetery,
probably the family or tribal graveyard alongside a
trackway. The inscription on the stone is incomplete and
there are still disagreements to its correct translation.
However, the text translates approximately as follows:
Here, an everlasting memorial. In this
here lie the most famous princes, Nudus and
Dumnogenus, in the tomb - two sons of Liberalis.
A site like this always makes me wonder just what might have
been in the forgotten past. In this small area we have the
Yarrow Stone, the Glebe Stone stands only a few hundred metres
to the east and another standing stone can be seen in the garden
at Warrior's Rest, the name itself giving pause for though.
There are also ancient linear earthworks to the west on
Snouthead Hill and 20 large cairns are recorded to have once
existed in the immediate area. The stone itself marks the site
of an important burial, of 6th Century British Christian
chieftains and the site must have been an important and sacred
place at one time. If you visit this place, just close your eyes
and let your imagination wander. Beware, however, you may get
more than you bargained for!