22 Edinburgh Road
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Stories of ghosts and witchcraft to chill the nerves and intrigue the imagination…
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NN 928240 52 HS PH7 3NL
On minor road off A85, 5 miles E of Crieff, Perthshire.
This Class 2 cross-slab, known as the Cross of Fowlis, over 3 metres tall, now stands inside Fowlis Wester Parish Church, with an excellent replica on the original site in the village. The front shows a tall cross, with carved decoration inside the arms. There are faint traces of animals and birds at the base. On the back are several horsemen, probably in a hunt as one carries a hawk, riding across the stone beneath a double disc. There is also a strange procession, headed by a man in a long robe, leading a cow with a bell round its neck, followed by six figures. A crescent and v-rod sits next to a bird, possibly an eagle, and at the very bottom a monster is devouring a man. The iron chain attached to the stone is probably the remains of a jougs, an iron collar to which petty criminals would be attached for public ridicule, a practice which continued from medieval times to the 18th and possibly early 19th century.
The church holds a second carved stone. It is set tight up against a wall and no-one knows what is carved on the back, and at present is classified as Class 3. It is dominated by a large ringed cross, filled with interlaced decoration, sitting on a square base. Top left and right show Jonah being swallowed by the whale, and then disgorged again – the Old Testament story of Jonah was seen as a parallel to the death and resurrection of Christ. On the left side of the cross is St Paul, seated on a throne, beside representations of the date-palms that fed him in the wilderness. On the right, a seated St Anthony is visited by an angel. Two monks stand below St Paul, but the carving below St Anthony has been obscured.
NOTE: Open daily during daylight hours
© Martin Coventry 2018
Please note the the colour photos of the Fowlis Wester Sculpted Stones are not in the book, although the top b&w photo is.