Brothers' Stones, Brotherstone, St. Boswells.
The Brothers' Stones are a majestic pair of standing stones on
the summit of Brotherstone Hill, at a height of 243m. The stones
are 16m apart with the largest stone reaching 2.45m, erected on
the south east edge of the small summit plateau. The smaller
stone reaches 1.60m in height and is located on the plateau edge
to the north west.
Brotherstone Farm is off the minor road running between Smailholm
and Gattonside. Follow the farm track uphill. The stones will be
seen to the right, across the fields.
Parking may be available in the farm yard at Brotherstone Farm but
please request permission first.
Popular tradition relates the tale of two young brothers
from the vicinity who set off for foreign lands to seeks
fame and fortune. On their return many years later and after
the Reformation, the brothers, each unknowingly to the
other, choose to follow different faiths, one Protestant,
the other Catholic. A chance meeting between the two, still
unaware of their own relationship with each other, resulted
in a debate on the theological questions of the time and
unable to resolve their difference they duelled and both
fell to the sword. On recognising the relationship of the
two combatants - so runs the legend - the local people set
up these two large monoliths to mark the place where the
duellists fell and were buried. The stones also mark the
boundary between the old Border counties of Roxburghshire
and Berwickshire. (It would be disappointing if they were
merely boundary stones!)
The Brothers' Stones are one of the best sets of standing stones
in the Scottish Borders, and in my humble opinion, the Lothians
as well. The view is breathtaking on a fine, clear day and an
interesting alignment can be seen from the smaller of the two
stones, over the 054 Cow Stone to Harehaugh Crags, in the west.
There are also numerous other locations in the surrounding area,
such as around Smailholm Tower, which might be worth further
investigation. This site seems to have secrets waiting to be
While there are no records of any standing stones or the like
having ever existed at this location, there is a similarly named
area to the south of Fala Moor, north off the B6388 between the
A7 and A68 south of Edinburgh. Here we see place names similar
to those found around the Brother Stones. Brotherstone Hill,
Upper Brotherstone, Nether Brotherstone and Brotherstone Wood
all exist in this area. One wonders if standing stones may have
stood here in the distant past or perhaps the original
inhabitants just liked the sound of names.