Kirkmadrine Stones – Sandhead, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

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Kirkmadrine Stones

Sandhead, Scotland

Dating back to the 500s, these stones include some of the oldest Christian memorials in Scotland. 


The eight Kirkmadrine Stones include three of the oldest Christian memorials in Scotland, which date back to the 500s. (Only the Latinus Stone in Whithorn is older.) These stones have Latin inscriptions and Greek chi-rho crosses. They commemorate priests and stood in the burial ground surrounding the chapel until the 1840s.

The earliest stone commemorates two “holy and outstanding priests,” Viventius and Mavorius. One stone has a Biblical inscription “I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.” The remaining five stones date from between 700 and 1100.

The stones confirm that there was an early Christian church located at Kirkmadrine, which must have been historically important. It is believed that Christian worship at this location dates back beyond the building of the church, with a monastery located here in the 400s. They are currently located in a glass-fronted porch at the west end of Kirkmadrine Chapel. The church that stands here today was built in the late 1800s, though some of the medieval masonry may have been included in its structure.

Know Before You Go

There is a small pull in at the end of the wooded walkway to the church.

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May 31, 2022

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