The Skeith Stone, Upper Kilrenny, Fife, in its context

The Skeith Stone, Upper Kilrenny, Fife, in its context

Trench-Jellico, Ross

Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 128 (1998), 495-513


The identification on the badly worn Skeith Stone at Upper Kilrenny, Fife, of a rho-hook attached to a cross of arcs motif the decoration of which is augmented with a saltire of arcs is significant because it is the first example of a chi-rho symbol to be recognized in Pictland. The design on the stone shares stylistic links with carved monuments at Whithorn and on the Isle of Man and also with sculptural motifs in western Ireland. It seems to belong within a seventh-century context. The stone is erected next to an apparently ancient trackway leading into Kilrenny, a place-name which is thought to contain a dedication to Ethernan, a Pictish saint whose death is probably recorded in AD 669. The village is identified from 19th-century maps and aerial photographic evidence as a relict early monastic precinct divided into three sections with the Skeith Stone functioning as a wayside boundary marker to the site. A relationship between the Kilrenny site and another Ethernan focus on the nearby Isle of May is postulated.

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