St Vigeans Museum
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Superb collection of Pictish stones
It appears that St Vigeans was the site of an 8th-century monastery. It is likely that many of the carved stones found here were erected to mark the graves of monks, abbots, or local Christian adherents.
The finest stone in the St Vigeans collection is the Drosten Stone, a carved cross slab dating to the late 8th or early 9th century. This is wonderfully carved with both Christian and traditional Pictish symbols such as monsters, animals, a grinning devil, and a vivid hunting scene.
One panel of the stone is inscribed with Roman lettering which bears the name of Drosten and further text which is hard to interpret but may be further proper names. It is possible that the stone was commissioned by two followers of Drosten, who may have been a local nobleman or saint. But that is only one of the numerous carved stones on display. There are interpretive panels that tell the story of the St Vigeans site and the meaning of Pictish art.
The museum is operated by Historic Scotland, but it is not open regular hours. One of the HS staff told me that there were simply not enough visitors to keep it open regular hours. But you can arrange to see the stones by contacting the HS staff at nearby Arbroath Abbey, only about 1 mile away. You can also ask the museum custodian for the keys to the medieval church of St Vigeans across the street.
St Vigeans museum is one of the best places in Scotland to see Pictish sculptured stones gathered together. The stones are well worth seeing, particularly the Drosten Stone, which must be counted among the highlights of Pictish art. It is just a shame that the museum is not open regularly. If the museum is not open, I can highly recommend a visit to the Meigle Pictish Stone Museum, which has an even better collection of Pictish stones, and is regularly open as well!
Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to take photos inside the museum, which is a real pity as the Pictish stones are superb and I'd love to share some images.
About St Vigeans Museum
Address: Kirkstone Cottages, St Vigeans, Angus and Dundee, Scotland, DD11 4RB
Attraction Type: Museum
Location: On the outskirts of Arbroath, off the A92. Small signed parking area off St Vigeans Brae. Contact Arbroath Abbey to arrange viewing the St Vigeans stones.
Website: St Vigeans Museum
Phone: 01241 878 756
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Arbroath Abbey - 1.1 miles (Abbey)
Arbroath Signal Tower Museum - 1.6 miles (Museum)
Pitmuies Gardens - 6.1 miles (Garden)
Dunninald - 8.1 miles (Historic House)
Barry Mill - 8.2 miles (Museum)
Carlungie Earth-House - 9 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Ardestie Earth-House - 10 miles (Prehistoric Site)
House of Dun - 10.5 miles (Historic House)
Nearest Accommodation to St Vigeans Museum:
Nearest Self Catering Cottages
Nearest Bed and Breakfasts
Nearest Tourist Information Centre ('as the crow flies')
Tourist Information Centre
16 City Square
Tel: 01382 527 527