The Maiden Stone

(Maiden Stone)

A particularly fine example of a Pictish cross-slab, the Maiden Stone lies by the roadside, a mile (1.5 km) west northwest of the Chapel of Garioch in Aberdeenshire. The stone comprises a pink granite monolith, standing 3.2m (10.5 feet) in height, and dates from the 9th Century. It features vivid relief carvings of a disc-headed cross on one side and symbols on the other. The cross is surmounted by a man between two scroll-tailed fish, interpreted by some as an image of the Crucifixion, while beneath there is a large roundel featuring a Celtic knotted design. On the reverse, the slab features various animal figures, a Z-rod (symbol of unknown meaning), a rectangular symbol which may be a chariot, a beast or dolphin, mirror and comb. According to legend, a daughter of the Laird of Balquhain lost a wager with the devil on her wedding day. She fled and turned to stone as he caught up with her. The stone has a sizeable 'chip' broken from it about 2m (6 feet) from its base.

The Maiden Stone is in the care of Historic Environment Scotland.

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