Standing Stone: OS Grid Reference – NN 8063 0420
Also Known as:
- MacGregor Stone
- NN80SW 3 (Canmore)
- Whittieston Stone
If you’re not into the walk, get the bus running NE between Dunblane and Greenloaning — the A9 — getting off at the Little Chef on the dual carriageway and cross the road, walking up the track to Upper Whiteston Farm (the owners here are very helpful). As you walk up the track you’ll notice the large upright in the edge of the field a coupla hundred yards to your right. That’s the one!
Archaeology & History
Standing 9ft 4 in tall when measured by Mr Hutchinson (1893), this large upright seems quite isolated at first sight, sitting alone in the field, with little evidence of companions or attendant burial to give it; but as we found, there was another large stone companion laid down not far to the north of here which may have had some relationship with this stone. But that aside… There are also as many as eight cup-markings on the stone’s eastern face: one large one and seven smaller ones, in no particular order as usual! It was these cup-marks that gave me the impression there was once a burial associated with the stone, but the archaeology records seem silent on such a matter; though folklore tradition tells another story…
Mr Hutchinson (1893) told that the legend attached to this stone appears to be “of quite recent date.” He said how,
“In the district the stone is known as the MacGregor Stone, and the tradition accounting for the name is to the effect that here a countryman was sacrificed by the followers of Rob Roy, when forming for the engagement on Sheriffmuir, in order to satisfy the ancient Highland superstition that first-blood was an infallible omen of success… The tradition is precise enough to state that a man of the name Dawson was seized in the adjoining hamlet of Whiteheadston (for such is the orignal name) as a whig, and therefore a foeman and proper victim. Dawson, however, suspecting the intentions of the captors, vehemently professed himself a supporter of King James and was left off. But another inhabitant of the hamlet not so acute or not so hypocritical, was immolated at the stone.”
Hutchinson however, doubts the accuracy of the tale and suggests that the local name of the MacGregor’s Stone derives from the fact that the monolith stands upon land once owned by the MacGregors of Balhaldies, countenancing that the stone “is of much earlier date than the MacGregors of Balhaldie or any other sept of the Children of the Mist.” I think he’s got a point!
- Hutchinson, A.F., “The Standing Stones of Stirling District,” in The Stirling Antiquary, volume 1, 1893.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian