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A guest feature by Albert Resonox


The Devil’s Stane looking north-east 

The high wall surrounding The Swallow Hotel (formerly The Greystanes Hotel) Invergowrie, has a break in the north-eastern corner where a spiked iron railing is set around a paddock stone, known locally as The Devil’s Stane. This stone was said to be cursed, a cynical yet effective ploy by the then owners to stop children from climbing through the railings and playing on the stone, though I recall there were some brave souls who did not believe the curse (whether ill-fate was theirs… I’m afraid I can’t say!). The use of this stone pre-dates Christianity but the name alludes to a Christian legend, first mooted by Archbishop John Spottiswoode (1565 – 1639).  The general gist of the legend is as follows…

In 697 AD, Saint Boniface was erecting, what is rumoured to have been the first Christian chapel north of the Tay, the devil  however was walking by the river on the Fife shore when he spotted this activity, seeking to destroy the building he plucked an enormous boulder and flung it across the mighty river.  God decided to protect his beloved saint and his works, and caused the stone to fly over half a mile beyond its target where it landed at its present site. This enraged his satanic majesty even more, so plucking an even larger boulder he flung again at the holy target, but this time the almighty stayed the flight of this projectile causing it to land in the waters of the Tay. The ensuing waves splashed the river’s waters against the devil’s legs causing immense pain and he fled back to his domain leaving Saint Boniface to finish his sacred works unhindered.

At low tide there is a large mound of rock visible in the river which is affectionately known as Whale Rock because of its resemblance to said mammal. There were also two other large stones by what was asserted to be the ruins of the ancient chapel which were known as The Goors Of Gowrie, and they were the subject of a prophecy by self-styled seer Thomas of Ercildoune (aka Tam The Rhymer).

“When The Goors O’ Gowrie come to land,
     The Day Of Judgement is at hand.”

The construction of the railway to Perth did indeed bring the stones “to land”, but the predicted final trump never occurred.

The Devil’s Stane looking north-east


January 2010

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