Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Beheading Stone

Behold the beheading stone, in use on Gowan Hill
in medieval times. It took us ages to find it. Hunting for the stone from the Castle side of the hill proved a total failure, but gave us lots of exercise.
Driving into Stirling next morning from our B & B in Bridge of Allan, it was plain as a pikestaff on the hill overlooking the river and the eastern edge of the town. I nearly knocked dh and our car into the next lane by grabbing his arm while he was negotiating strange roads and shrieking something like There it is! in his ear. Two great cannons stood next to it. Good clue, really.
Dh's first comment when observing the stone: 'Its rather high. I wonder how they laid their heads on it. A stepladder perhaps?'
Anyway, its where three noble lords met their end in 1425. Imagine being led out of gaol and then having to walk about a mile, climb steep inclines - all to stand there and watch one or two men before you getting their heads lopped off. Imagine having to put your head where their's had been - the place now covered in gore, possibly with their bodies and heads still within sight.
Enough to give me nightmares.
There are no signposts to guide the tourist to the stone, so its a case get out on your own two feet and track it down. Helps to know where you are heading for though, as the hills get overgrown with brambles and thorn bushes. Fun in the summer, with lots of little tracks and dells where you may wish to munch your sarnies and contemplate the rich history of the our land.

3 comments:

N. Gemini Sasson said...

I'm with you, Jen - I'd get pretty excited (and morbidly fascinated) with such a find myself. Any idea on the approximate time frame in which it was used or any well-known people who lost their lives on it?

Jen Black said...

Murdoch, Duke of Albany, two of his sons and his father-in-law the Earl of Lennox were certainly put to death there by James 1 on 24th May 1425. Not that I expect James swung the axe himself...

Nicola Cornick said...

Gosh, Jen, how stirring in a not altogether comfortable way! I love the countryside around there and the way that it is steeped in history. My m-i-l went to school at Bridge of Allan and one of her favourite sayings is "there were bigger losses at Sherrifmuir." Naturally we had to go and find Sherriffmuir on one occasion just to pay our respects!