Historian questions Dunnichen Stone

Work is progressing well on The Dunnichen Stone - but should it be called St Orland's Stone?
Work is progressing well on The Dunnichen Stone - but should it be called St Orland's Stone?

As the countdown continues to the opening of a new pub and restaurant on the outskirts of Forfar, a local historian has questioned its name.

He contacted our office after it emerged the new pub and restaurant being built by Marston’s Inns and Taverns at Orchardbank has been given the historical name The Dunnichen Stone - whilst the site overlooks another local historical landmark.

He asked: “Why call the new building at the west side of Forfar the “Dunnichen Stone”, when the site overlooks St Orland’s Stone, which has stood in the same spot for more than 1,100 years? Dunnichen is important but lies clearly to the east of Forfar. Many of these stones have been moved from their original positions and this makes it difficult to understand how they related to the landscape around them and the messages they were intended to give out. This choice of name decision by a national company who have no local knowledge is just confusing.”

St Orland’s stone stands on a rise in marshy ground on farmland near Glamis. It dates from a time when Pictish kings were encouraging their people to convert to Christianity. Its location on a high spot overlooking water meant it could have been seen from a great distance. It has Scotland’s only known Pictish carving of a boat. A spokesperson for Marston’s said: “The Meffan Museum is in the heart of Forfar where a rare Pictish stone can be found called the Dunnichen Stone to which the pub is named after. It was found in the early 19th century when a farmer from the East Mains of Dunnichen was ploughing. After the Meffan Institute had renovated the stone, it was brought to Forfar on a long term loan from the Dundee museum where it is displayed to this day. The stone is of rough sandstone, It is incised on one face with three symbols: a Pictish flower, a double disc and z-rod and a mirror and comb. While the double disc and Z-rod and mirror and comb motifs are fairly common and exist together elsewhere, the flower is relatively rare.”