The Witches' Stone is a rather disappointing block of rough
stone measuring less than 0.6m each way and lies at the foot of
the hawthorn hedge running along the south side of a narrow
road. The stone is surrounded by iron railings and was hidden by
vegetation on my initial visit.
From the A1 south of Dunbar, take the junction for Spott at the
roundabout, continue through and parking in the street just before
the end of the village. The stone is about 0.5 mile on the left,
just before the junction.
There is no parking near the site. Cars should be left in Spott
Spott was notorious for its witches in both the 17th and
early 18th centuries and the stone is supposed to be near
the spot where Marion Lillie, the Ringwoodie Witch, was
burnt to death around 1698. It has been claimed that she was the last
witch to be burnt in Scotland, however, three other
executions took place in Spott in 1705, one being described
as a "burning", the usual fate for those convicted
of witchcraft. The location of this is uncertain and may
have been Spott Loan, a road leading up hill out of Spott.
There are also others elsewhere in Scotland. The Iron Age
hill fort on The Chesters, not for to the south west also
has associations with witch burnings.
One reader sent in a brief note stating that on a family
visit to the Witches Stone, coins had been placed in the middle
of the stone. The significance of this occurrence is unclear but
the timing is not. The day in question was Halloween! Perhaps
witchcraft is not forgotten in East Lothian after all? More
recently, just after Lammas 2002, a fellow enthusiast reports
finding the remains of candle wax and incense on the stone.
Playing around with a straight edge and O.S. Explorer Sheet 351,
reveals the possible beginnings of a ley line, although further
exploration in the field will be required to prove any certainty
to this observation. Although it does not comply with the usual
criteria for acceptance of a true ley line, the fact that a
straight line runs from the standing stone at 006 Broomhouse,
through the 001 Witches Stone and strikes the North West edge of
"The Chesters" an Iron Age hill fort to the South
West, does hint that further investigation might prove fruitful.
On the day I visited this stone I had already had a most
successful day's stone hunting, having been to see four other
standing stones in the area. The fact that I was well thrilled
with these earlier finds probably helped to negate the
disappointment when I found this one. Its really just a small
non-descript boulder by the roadside. Had it not been for the
iron railings that protect the stone, you would never know its
there. However, it does - allegedly? - mark the spot where the
last witch in Scotland was burned. Not worth the effort on it's
own but if in the area looking at other standing stones you
might as well have a look. Have a look out for anything strange,
such as coins on the stones, and get in touch.