Saints and Stones

Some churches in Pictland were founded by people who either were already or became Saints. However, our modern view of a Saint and what prevailed in Pictish times is different. The local clergyman was sometimes referred to as Saint. Many more churches were dedicated to existing, well known, Saints.

This PDF – Saints and Stones – lists locations where there are Pictish Stones (mainly Class 2) and Saint associations. Site numbers are from The Pictish Symbol Stones of Scotland, edited by Iain Fraser.

Geographic locations with Saint associations are shown on this Map of Class 2 Stones with Saint associations.

There is a concentration of Class 2 Stones in the Angus and Perth & Kinross geography with six locations having Saint Associations which might lead to a dating prospect for the Stones. In summary these are:-

Alyth – if this Stone was carved in St Moluag’s lifetime or soon after then it dates to the late 6th / early 7th century.

Ballluderon – despite not being near a known belief location, the Stone is associated with St Martin – a well-known (and well documented) Saint who was Bishop of Tours in 371 CE.

Kingoldrum – relevance to St Medan is unclear (to the extent that there were male and female versions but in different time periods).

Monifieth – St Regulus was, a fourth century monk or bishop. If he had a direct influence in bringing Christianity to what now is Scotland, dating conflicts with St Ninian (b 360 – d 342) and St Columba (b 521 – d 597). It might be reasonable to assume that the association between the Saint and the Stone is one of dedication.

St Vigeans – St Vigean was St Feichin of Irish origin who died in 664. Religious use of the area continued with a monastery founded in the 8th century.

Tealing- Although the church at Tealing was dedicated to St Peter, it was seemingly founded by St Boniface (672 to 754) in 710. He founded 150 churches in North East Scotland.

Saint Associations that might lead to the dating of Class 2 Stones is explored here.