Ancient Stones
A Guide to Standing Stones & Stone Circles in the South of Scotland.

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013 Stone, Whithorn Priory, Whithorn.

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Just inside the gate of the walled graveyard of Whithorn Priory stands a single large earth-fast boulder of weathered granite. The stone stands about 0.40m high and slightly larger in length and breadth. However, the stone may be much taller due to soil build up over the centuries, something which can also be seen elsewhere on the site.

Whithorn Priory is well signposted within the village of Whithorn. The stone is to the left just inside the main iron gates leading into the graveyard.

Along streets in Whithorn.

I noticed this stone as soon as I walked into the graveyard at Whithorn Priory. It just seemed so obviously out of place for such a well known and extensively archaeologically researched site. My first thought was that it was simply a large boulder used as a gate stop but it does not quite fit this theory, being too far away from the swing of the gate. As I was part of the tour group visiting the priory I asked the guide about that stone but she was unable to throw any light on the matter, in fact, she had not even noticed the stone before.

If the stone is not simply a recent part of the landscaping of the area, what is it? Excavations have revealed that at least one standing stone once existed at this site during the very earliest periods of its history and this may have been one of the reasons for choosing the site in the first place, as many so-called pagan sites are known to have been taken over and "Christianised". It is known that the site has been in use for 1300 years and if the stone is actually ancient, could it possibly be the sole remnant of a stone setting or stone circle?

As with many surviving ancient stones, the question that always comes to my mind is why it has survived in the first place. If it is not a relic of a lost ancient monument what is it? Is it a left-over from earlier landscaping or garden works? Perhaps we shall never know.

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Quick Info
Type: Associated Stone
Nearest Town: Whithorn
Landranger Sheet 83
O.S. Explorer Sheet 311
Grid Reference: NX 4440 4035
GPS Reference: WHITHN

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