Whilst there is a widespread geographic distribution of Monastic Houses across Scotland there are concentrated areas notably in Angus and Perth & Kinross and Argyll & in Bute (particularly in the 6th century). Overall the number of Monastic Houses is greater in number and more widespread beyond the 10th century – farther on from the time period usually associated with Class 2 Stones.
There are three aspects to assessing any influence of monastic houses on the Transition Timeframe and the wider timeline for the introduction of Christianity in Scotland:-
- geographic proximity between Class 2 Stones and monastic houses
- dates when monastic houses were established
- any connection with a Saint of Scotland
Of the 31 Monastic Houses across Scotland 8 are near Class 2 Symbol Stones; 6 were noted in the Initial Focus (on Angus and Perth & Kinross) and only 2 more have been added – Clova and Monymusk. Two-thirds, 20, are not near Class 2 Stones but have Saint associations.
With the relatively low number of locations where there are Monastic Houses nearby to Class 2 Stones what seems apparent is that there was not a planned reliance on their proximity for one to be considered to have supported the other in influencing the transition to Christianity. Regarding dating, taking 5 of the “plausible” locations (Abernethy, Brechin, Dunkeld, Monymusk and St Serf’s) each has a reference to Culdees between 6th and 10th centuries (3 in the 9th) maybe suggesting a date range for nearby Class 2 Stones.
Whilst the Saints Names associations (mentioned above) are with specific Class 2 Stone locations, a direct relationship between such locations and “monastic houses” has not been found. In fact, when looking for a link between a monastic house and a Saint Name there are 9 Saints Names associated directly with Class 2 Stones that are not in the list of Saints linked to monastic houses.
Further detail is in the Outcome PDF.