Tullich Symbol Stone
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
The stone's surface is very worn, and the edges have been trimmed at some point in the past. The symbol stone was discovered in 1866 by Rev John Michie of Dinnet being used as a lintel for a window in the north wall of the church.
The stone is thought to have been carved in the 7th century. it is carved from blue slate (technically Andalusite staurolite schist). It stands 5'9" high, 1'9" wide and 5" thick (1.75m x 0.5m x 0.13m).
The front face shows a double-disc and Z-rod at the top above an elephant symbol. At the bottom is a mirror symbol without a comb. Each of the double-discs is decorated with a concentric circle. The mirror is decorated with another circle and the mirror handle is in the shape of a double disc.
The Tullich kirk site is bounded by a circular wall, suggesting a very early church existed on the site. It was thought to have been established by Nathalan, sometimes known as Neachtan, who died in AD 678. In the medieval period Tullich church was held by the Knights Templar, and after that Order was dissolved it passed to the Hospitallers. They built a fort around the church, traces of which could still be seen in 1898. Much of the present building is post-Reformation but a 14th-century doorway survives in the north wall.
Beside the symbol stone are 16 Celtic-style slabs stones inscribed with crosses. These are thought to be medieval gravestones and vary from 0.2m to 1.5m high. There is also a very large medieval font bowl.
As of this writing, the symbol stone has been removed pending the construction of a display shelter in the kirkyard.
Most photos are available for licensing, please contact Britain Express image library.
About Tullich Symbol Stone
Address: Tullich, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Attraction Type: Prehistoric Site - Carved Stone
Location: On the south side of the A93 2 miles east of Ballater. There is a layby for parking.
Photo Credit: Stanley Howe, licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence
Opening Details: Open access site, usually accessible at any reasonable time
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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