Legendary Stone: OS Grid Reference – NS 9656 9904
From Dollar town centre, take the road up to the gorgeous Castle Campbell, but instead of turning up towards the castle, keep on the road, uphill, for another quarter-mile. As the road begins to level out, a small field and driveway on your left heads up to Kiloran house. Stop here, and note the stone in the field, right by the fence alongside the footpath which runs uphill by the field-side up into the woods. That’s the Wizard’s Stone.
Archaeology & History
It’s difficult to determine whether this is the remains of an old standing stone (like that along the same ridge a mile east at Castleton), or a memorial rock. Whichever it may be, the site is not listed by Canmore, but it’s found in an area with a rich cluster of heathen place-names—most intriguing of which is the Lochy Launds woodland, right above where this Wizard’s Stone now rests. The stone has been broken into smaller pieces in recent years—as the photos here show—and the small standing stone which remains is barely 3 feet tall at the edge of the field. According to the local history writer Bruce Baillie (1998), this old stone was an important spot in local witch trial annals. He wrote:
“A large whinstone in a field in a field is known as ‘The Wizard’s Stone’, having been set there by one of the Moirs to take the place of a rotting stake said to mark the spot where the last Dollar witch (and, naturally, the last Scots one), named Forrester, was burnt, though this is probably folk confusion with the vicar of Dollar, Thomas Forrest.”
Angus Watson (1995) could find no early references of this stone, other than it being mentioned in the 1860 Ordnance Survey Name Book. Further information on the site would be most welcome.
Reputedly one of the haunts and gathering places of the witches of the area, this spot was also known as Lochyfaulds, which the place-name giant W.J. Watson (1926) tell us means the ‘place of the Black Goddess,’ like the “Valley of the Black Goddess” or Glen Lochay, 40 miles northwest of here near Killin. Modern folklore ascribed the wizard here to have been Merlin—as highlighted in the adjacent place-name of “Merlin Park.”
- Baillie, Bruce, History of Dollar, DMT: Dollar 1998.
- Watson, Angus, The Ochils: Placenames, History, Tradition, PKDL: Perth 1995.
- Watson, W.J., The History of the Celtic Place-names of Scotland, Edinburgh 1926.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian