Fowlis Wester Pictish Stones
Crieff, Perthshire
Pictish Stones Canmore

Fowlis Wester is a tiny village that is in an area heaving with ancient sites: cup-and-ring marked rocky outcrops, hill forts, stone circles, standing stones, Pictish sculpted stones, Roman forts, and more.

In the centre of the village used to stand a tall Pictish cross-slab. To save it from the weather, it has been taken into the local church (along with another cross and several fragments of another stone) and replaced with a fairly horrible replica. Inside the church, the lighting is terrible (that's my excuse for the poor quality of several of these photographs!) and it is very difficult to make out the carvings. On one side is a cross, and on the other are several horsemen, a crescent-and-V-rod and a double-circle-and-Z-rod.

A second, smaller cross-slab lives in the same church. The top-left and top-right quadrants of the slab seem to contain monsters that look like a cross between a dog and an eel. The one in the top-right has hold of a person by the head.

According to Elizabeth Sutherland in In Search of the Picts this is illustrative of the Jonah and the Whale story; in the top-left corner the whale has swallowed Jonah leaving his sword and shield--in the top-right corner the whale is disgorging him.

Below the arms of the cross are two seated figures. These are Paul (on the left) and Antony (on the right) -- two early Christian hermits and saints. They supposedly lived alone in the desert in the early years of Christianity, meeting just before Paul's death at the age of 113 years. The story is that Paul fed on and was clothed by date palms, seen before and behind the figure on the left; a spirit (seen behind the figure on the right) revealed to Antony the presence of Paul in the desert.

Images ©1998, 1999 Martin McCarthy, Theasis Photography

Nearby Sites

0km Crofthead Farm Standing Stones
0km Fowlis Wester Stone Circles Stone Circles; Standing Stone; Cairn
2km Buchanty Hill Cup Marks
4km Monzie Cairn Circle
5km Ferntower Stone Circle Stone Circle; Cup Mark
11km Auchterarder Standing Stones
13km Clach na Tiompan Chambered Cairn; Standing Stone; Possible Stone Circle
13km Dunning Standing Stone
13km Dupplin Cross Pictish Free-Standing Cross
13km River Almond Stone Circle; Cairn
14km Peterhead Farm Standing Stone; Pictish Class I Stone
16km Ardoch Roman Fort Roman Fort
19km Colen Wood Stone Circle
19km Perth Museum Pictish Stones
20km Druids Seat Wood Stone Circle
20km Dunkeld Park Standing Stone
20km Kindrochat Chambered Cairn
(NB: All distances are as-the-crow-flies. Lochs, mountains and beautiful winding roads will make it further. Sometimes much further.)