Standing Stone: OS Grid Reference – NT 28282 70502
Also Known as:
- Canmore ID 52108
Take the A7 road south from Edinburgh central (off Princes Street) for several miles. It becomes known as the Old Dalkeith Road eventually, just as it passes the huge wooded ground of Craigmillar Castle on your left (east) and the Inch estate on your right. Walk along here, keeping your eyes peeled for the small path that takes you onto Ravenswood Avenue. Barely 30-40 yards from the main A7 road, the standing stone is there surrounded by railings.
Archaeology & History
A curious place to find a standing stone – especially one that’s still alive! But that’s what we find on the Inch housing estate, thankfully. Highlighted on the 1855 Ordnance Survey map, it was one of a number of standing stones described in George Good’s (1893) fine survey on Liberton parish, which he thought commemorated ancient battles. When he wrote about it, the monolith was “built into the wall on the public road to Greenend”, just as shown on the OS-map. He told how the
“stone was taken down in the beginning of the present century (c.1801), when the road was widened, and it long lay in the field opposite, but was restored to its original place in 1891.”
When the Royal Commission (1929) lads came here many years later, they gave their own archaeocentric description, telling:
“About 40 yards from the main road near Little France…is a standing stone, which is set up without packing, with its main axis almost due north and south, but with a slight inclination towards the east. It stands 6¾ feet above ground, and has a girth of 6 feet 5 inches at 3 feet from the base. It is of grey sandstone, badly weathered on two sides and without traces of any artificial markings or design.”
The monolith was included in Adam McLean’s (1977) megalithic survey of the area, where he rightly said how the iron fence that surrounds the stone destroys any atmosphere that might once be had here. Still, at least it’s still standing and is worth checking out if you’re in the area.
An old footpath that runs dead straight from Craigmillar Castle towards the stone was long ago said to be the pathway taken by the ghost of a white lady.
In days prior to the housing estate being built, local folk had annual bonfires here between Samhain (Halloween) and Guy Fawkes Night (Oct 31 – Nov 5).
- Good, George, Liberton in Ancient and Modern Times, Andrew Elliot: Edinburgh 1893.
- McLean, Adam, The Standing Stones of the Lothians, Megalithic Research Publications: Edinburgh 1977.
- Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the Counties of Midlothian and West Lothian, HMSO: Edinburgh 1929.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian