Hilton of Cadboll Pictish Cross-slab

Hilton of Cadboll Cross Slab
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Hilton of Cadboll Cross Slab

Lying to the north of Hilton of Cadboll on the Moray Firth coast of Easter Ross is a replica of a 9th Century Pictish Cross-slab. This finely carved stone portrays a complex and unique design of a female aristocrat, hunting on horseback. This potentially illustrates the senior position of women in Pictish society. The stone was broken when found and further defaced in the 17th Century to make a grave-stone, although never used for this purpose.

In the late 19th Century, the original was initially removed by the local laird to decorate his garden at Invergordon Castle. Just after the First World War, when the castle was to be sold, the stone was given to the British Museum in London. However there were demands for it to be returned to Scotland and in 1921 it was given to the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh. The slab is now displayed in the Museum of Scotland. In a project supported by Historic Scotland, a replacement stone (weighing 7 tonnes) was carved and unveiled in September 2000, close to the site of the original. In 2001 excavations revealed the bottom section of the original slab, together with a number of other fragments, which will provide vital information about the designs destroyed on the larger section.

A local campaign has ensured these fragments will remain in the village.

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