Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall at sunset

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Kirkmadrine Stones

At one end of this tiny Victorian chapel, set on a lonely hill in southwestern Scotland and overlooking the Bay of Luce, is a glassed-in wall. Three of the earliest Christian stones ever found in Scotland sit inside it.

They were erected around 450 A.D. to mark the common grave of three priests who served in the area. For 1400 years they stood unmolested in the churchyard until 1850, when they were pulled up and taken away for another use.

It is thought that the three priests may have served with St. Ninian at his "Candida Casa", or the white house on the hill across the bay. Ninian is a character in Eleri's Tale.

Two of the stones are about 7 feet tall, with the third being about 3 feet. All 3 stones have an early Chi-Rho symbol carved at the top. Each cross is surrounded by a perfect circle, deeply cut into the stone. The circle is a symbol of eternity.

Below the Chi-Rho symbols are the Latin inscriptions. They were meant to stand together and form a continous narrative. The translation of the Latin is:

"Here lie the holy and eminent priests, Viventius and Mavorius (first stone), and Florentius, (second stone), and on the third stone "INTIUM ET FINIS", the Beginning and the End.

If youu look carefully, you can see Mavorius listed under Viventius. Florentius is quite obvious.

I used the names Mavorius and Florentius for the characters of 2 priests in Whithorn in Eleri's Tale. This is an example of how archaeological research can drive the story.

In 1861 the two taller stones were discovered in the manse gate. The third stone wasn't found until 1916.

But that's a story for another post - the "lost" stone of Kirkmadrine.


  1. Ah, the thrill of anthropology. Deciphering how earlier cultures spent their time. I spend so much of my day advising people they don't need their electronic devices to make them happy. Instead I would prefer to encourage them to cast away their tethers to this electronic world. Remove the ties that bind us and explore the great unknown. The ancients were fortunate in that their lives were less complicated (not necessiarily better) than today. Wait... let me check. I know I have three silver dollars here some place... that's all I need. Along with some sunshine and my knees I'm prepared to move the world. Today is a beautiful day; full of opportunity!


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