Stone of Scone

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The Stone of Scone (pronounced /ˈskuːn/), more commonly known as the Stone of Destiny or in Scottish Gaelic, An Liath Fàil and often referred to in England as the Coronation Stone is an oblong block of red sandstone, used for centuries in the coronation of the monarchs of Scotland, later the monarchs of England and since 1603, British monarchs. Historically, the artifact was kept at the now-ruined Scone Abbey in Scone, near Perth, Scotland. Other names by which it has sometimes been known include Jacob's Pillow Stone and the Tanist Stone, and in Scottish Gaelic clach-na-cinneamhuin. Its size is about 26 inches (660 mm) by 16.75 inches (425 mm) by 10.5 inches (270 mm) and its weight is approximately 336 pounds (152 kg). The top bears chisel-marks. At each end of the stone is an iron ring, apparently intended to make transport easier.


Tradition and history

Origin and legends

In the 14th century, the English cleric and historian Walter Hemingford described the Scottish coronation stone as residing in the monastery of Scone, a few miles north of Perth:

In the monastery of Scone, in the church of God, near to the high altar, is kept a large stone, hollowed out as a round chair, on which their kings were placed for their ordination, according to custom.

Various theories and legends exist about the stone's history prior to its residence at Scone:

  • Legends hold that this stone was the coronation stone of the early Dál Riata Gaels, which they brought with them from Ireland when settling Scotland.[citation needed]
  • The more historically supported story is of Fergus, son of Ferchard. As the first King of the Scots in Scotland, he is recorded to have brought the stone (and some claim the coronation chair as well, though this is unlikely) from Ireland to Argyll, and was crowned in it.[citation needed]
  • In either case, these legends present a transport from Ireland and connection to the stone Lia Fáil, the coronation stone of the kings of Tara. As referenced above, the Scottish Gaelic, clach-na-cinneamhain, clach Sgàin, and Lia(th) Fàil[1] lends strong etymological support.[citation needed]
  • Legends place the origins in Biblical times and consider the stone to be the Stone of Jacob taken by Jacob while in Haran.[1]
  • According to Hector Boece the Stone was first kept in the west of Scotland at the lost city of Evonium. Founded by Evenus, or Ewin, Evonium and its founder have been tentatively identified as Irvine, Ayrshire, a medieval power centre on the west coast of Scotland, and with Dunstaffnage, in Argyll.

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