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Stories of ghosts and witchcraft to chill the nerves and intrigue the imagination…
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NJ 704247 38 AB51 5H
On hillside next to minor road off A96, 1 mile NW of Chapel of Garioch, 5 miles NW of Inverurie, Aberdeenshire
Known as the Maiden Stone, this was a highly decorated Class 2 cross-slab, although much of the carving has been lost or defaced. At the head of the front of the stone, a man stands with arms outstretched, holding a sea-monster in each hand. Below this group is a ringed cross, with traces of interlaced decoration on either side. At the foot of the cross is what must once have been a large and intricately patterned disc, with triangular knots filling out the exterior corners. The back of the stone is less weathered and shows several beasts of various descriptions in the top panel; below is a large notched rectangle and z-rod; below that is a fine Pictish beast; and at the bottom is a mirror and double-sided comb.
Legend has it that a daughter of the Laird of Balquhain made a bet with the Devil that she could bake a supply of bread before he could build a road to the summit of Bennachie (the road is known as the Maiden Causeway, and runs from the fort on the summit (NJ 683224) to another at Maiden Castle (NJ 694244)). The Devil won the bet, but the woman fled and was transformed into this stone, whereby it gets its name. Of course, it could have been called the Maiden Stone for centuries, and attracted the tale by way of explanation.
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© Martin Coventry 2018