sactuary stones

You need to know what you are looking for to be able to find the two stones in Dailly that prove to be various things, sanctuary, measure of strength, and indication of ownership.

Old Dailly Church

They lie within the ruin of the church of Old Dailly. Her long history of religious worship came to an end after the Reformation. The first church in Old Dailly in the Parish of Dalmulkerane (later Dailly) was established in the 13th century.

Cocenanter's grave Old DaillyThe rich and influential of the region were buried here mostly inside the church or in burial aisles adjacent to it, including the Dalrymple Hamilton family of Bargany and the Cathcarts of Killochan.

Around the ruins of the church the tombs of eight Covenanters have been established, a large obelisk has been set up to their memory.

two stones in Old Dailly
charter stones

The two protective stones are rare and extraordinary witnesses of the past. The larger of the two is a so-called document stone or “charter stone”. Such stones were used before documents or other correspondence defined property. With the property the stone was given, thus either a community or an individual had legal proof of the purchase made. The stones had to be special, either in shape or colour.

santuary stone

The stones of Old Dailly are blue and since the document stone is within the church, it is reasonable to assume that it should testify to church business. After the Reformation the church moved to Dailly, the stones were supposed to be moved with it according to the wishes of the new congregation. But the residents of Old Dailly would not have any of that and successfully revolted. The blue stone stayed in place.

charter stone
lifting stanes

The stones were deliberately so heavy that it was impossible for most people, to lift them. This way they could be used as lifting stanes, with which men could prove their strength. The lifting stones were also called clach cuid fir or “stone of the strong men” in Gaelic. This statement of masculinity and power has been a tradition in Scotland for centuries. Today it is a common feature in Highland Games but in a society in which physical power often meant political power and influence, these stones were no instrument for sport but served as a symbol of acquired masculinity.

sanctuary stones

The stones in Old Dailly are said to be more than just a certificate of owenership and proof of male strength. They are also sanctuary stones. Anyone rubbing his back against it was protected.
The stones are still there, held with iron bands. They no longer offer sanctuary though. Police Scotland does not recognise sanctuary stones.

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