St Madoes Stones (Pitfour Castle)

St Madoes sections

The northern stone (J.R. Allen, 1882, 96-7)


Scotland Perth and Kinross Central Scotland NO 19715 20983
Lat 56.37435821   Long -3.30151339

St Madoes 2016-09-17-5

Plan of the stones (J.R., Allen, 1882, 95)


Type: Single Length: 5.8m
No. of stones: 3 Size of stones: Medium and large
Orientation: 157.5° Altitude: 20m
Upper end: – Lower end: –
Straight (Yes or No)  : Sea View: No
Context:  –

Notes: This group of stones have been described as a stone alignment. Burl, Coutts and Historic Environment Scotland all describe the monument as consisting of three stones. Dr M.E.C. Stewart who excavated the site in the early 1960’s however described it as a stone pair. She clearly believed that the recumbent stone did not form part of the original design. Her excavations revealed that “neither upright stood in a prepared socket and no packing stones were noted”. In addition she noted that “a modern teacup and flowerpot had been inserted at the base” of the northern cupmarked stone.

The absence of sockets, packing and the possibility of the “modern” finds having been incorporated when the stone was erected suggest that this site may be relatively modern. This combined with the original position of the stones in a prominent position between the late 18th mansion of Pitfour Castle and its West Lodge strongly suggests that this group of stones were probably erected in the latter part of the 18th century as an “eye-catcher” for the nearby grand residence. The cup-marked stone was probably retrieved from another part of the estate and used to provide an”historic pedigree” for the new antiquity. This explanation fits the evidence rather better than the prehistoric interpretation and this site has therefore been transferred to the Dubious, uncertain and unlikely part of the gazetteer.

Other Information

Public Access:  No
Land Status:
Scheduled Ancient Monument: Yes

Online Resources 

Megalithic Portal     Modern Antiquarian     Canmore     Society of Antiquaries Scotland (pg 95)

Discovery & Excavation (pg 44)

Other References

Allen, J R., 1882, ‘Notes on some undescribed stones with cup markings in Scotland, Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol. 16, 1881-2. Page(s): 95 fig. 15-16.
Coutts, H., 1970,  Ancient monuments of Tayside. Dundee. Pgs 19-20 pl. 2.
Burl, A., 1993, From Carnac to Callanish – The prehistoric rows and avenues of Britain, Ireland and Brittany, Yale University Press, New York and London, pg. 224.
Ruggles, C.L.N., 1999, Astronomy in prehistoric Britain and Ireland, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 197.
Stewart, M. E. C., 1967b, ‘Pitfour, Glencarse, pair of standing stones, Discovery Excav Scot, 1967. Pgs. 44-5.
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