Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 1997-08 > 0871303429
From: "Craig R. Buchanan" <>
Subject: Re: Lia Fail - Stone of Destiny??
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 1997 13:43:49 +0100 (BST)
On Fri, 8 Aug 1997, Angus Robinson wrote:
> Here is a copy of the original message. I, also, have asked for the wee piece
> on the Stone of Destiny. Can anyone tell me if this is the same as the Stone
> of Scone?
> Angus Robinson
That is, I imagine, the rub of the article we were offered. We have the
Lia Fa/il on the one hand, and a lump of sandstone on the other. Is the
stone currently on display in Edinburgh Castle the same as the fabled
Pillow of Jacob?
Now I yield, freely and with a wry grin, that we Celts are a strange
lot. We marry our close relatives, fight amongst ourselves for
generations over subjects long forgotten, and, according to some, eat
tomato sandwitches. These odditites aside, would we really have venorated
a plain lump of sandstone for all these centuries?
The earliest discriptions of the Lia Fa/il (and I will not here get into
the discussion of whether we are talking about a pillar, as Irish legend
tells us, or a portable stone, as Scots myth prefers) is of a black
saddle-shaped stone with a dip in th top surface, and covered in
carvings. Ie, from the front you have something like this:
(ok, so I'm no artist! >:-)).
Those early discriptions have led some to suggest that the stone may have
been a portable altar, perhaps brought to Scotland by Columba and, having
been used to convert the then King of Scots to Christianity, became the
coronation stone of that dynasty (another, more amusing tradition has it
that the Scots in Dal Riada asked their Irish cousins to send the
coronation stone across so that they could crown their own king, then
refused to send it back!).
Anyway, intersting as all this is, I digress somewhat...
Edward I, "Longshanks" as he is known, and "Hammer of the Scots" as he
liked to consider himself, made no secret of the fact that he wanted the
Stone for himself. Scotland was to cease to exist, and her regalia to be
brought to London. In anticipation he even ordered a gold chair to be
cast, planning, it is suggested, to house the stone beneath it. Now
troops moved relatively slowly in the early 1300's, and news has always
moved considerably faster. Add to that the fact that there is a
sandstone quarry not a stone's throw (sorry!) from Scone Abbey, where the
stone was then housed. It is not difficult to imagine a block of plain
sandstone being carved, and the real stone being removed to safety (some
suggest to the Isles) long before the English arrived. One legend even
suggests that they took away a stone which had previously been used to
cover one of the monastery toilets - which would mean that the English
and British monarchs from that day forth had been crowned upon the
"throne' in more ways than one! :-)
The English troops returned south with what they presumed to be the
stone. But was it? Edward's first reaction upon seeing their spoils was
to send a crack cavelry troop to Scone. They sacked the Abbey, and left
again, presumably with or without whatever they had been sent to
retrieve. He then cancelled the order for the chair, deciding instead to
gild a wooden throne (thought to have been the coronation chair of
Alexander III of Scots, which went missing at that time). Of course, he
couldn't come out and admit publically that he had failed, so he went
along with the hoax.
Plausable? Perhaps. We may never know. That a Scottish Parliamet is
closer now than it has been for 300 years, and this just months after the
supposed stone was returned to Scotland, would seem to give some credence
to the prophecy that whereever the stone rests, the Scots with rule. but
then, I'm a helpless romantic at times...
|Re: Lia Fail - Stone of Destiny?? by "Craig R. Buchanan" <>|