By: ron (offline) Thursday, 09 August 2007 (Read 14104 times)
Some days ago I posted a story on the blog about things that puzzled me on Islay. One thing was the 'head stone' near Kilchoman and the other was the strange pillar like things near Foreland house. Armin mentioned that the stone could be a sanctuary stone, although with only two of them found on Islay this might as well be something else. Jeremy Hastings from Islay Birding is looking into this at the moment.
The second thing were the strange pillars and Jeremy came up with an answer:
The pillars - for that is what they are - are the remains of Forelands clay tile factory where they made the tiles for when Gruinart was being drained in the 1850s onward. Amazing eh - that even the materials to do the work had to be manufactured here on Islay!
I read all the comments on the Sanctuary Stones with interest having looked at similar areas near to where I live (the closest I know of being Torphichen, near Linlithgow, and the other being Holyrood Park in Edinburgh). Anyway, I did comment on the subject on the weblog, but don't know if you read that Ron. Anyway, here is my response:
"You're right Ron, at least three stones (usually four) would be needed to mark the limit of sanctuary, but chances are they have been "lost". At Torphichen in West Lothian, one of the "missing" stones was later discovered... in a wall! However, it could be that somethng other than a stone marked the other limits - perhaps a building that was included within the area and possibly used to house those that had sought out sanctuary (similar to the area of sanctuary around Holyrood Park in Edinburgh)!"
The difference in Edinburgh now is that the area of sanctuary has been marked by an S in the road:
I did read your comment Bruce but I thought it would be easier to continue the discussion here. What I find surprising is that these Sanctuary places still exist, thanks for posting the picture by the way! I suppose they have a different meaning then they used to have in earlier days. If I understand it correctly the sanctuaries were there to give criminals a place where they were safe from the lawmen. Do you know what the meaning of them is nowadays?
Do they still have a function or are they just remains of history? The reason for asking was the stones at Edinburgh, they seem rather new to me so they should have some sort of function or is it just symbolic?
When you try to search on Google for Sanctuary Stones you hardly get any good results. So I guess they are rather seldom right?
They are merely symbolic... one thing that Edinburgh (especially the Old Town) is good at, its preserving its history (at least in written if not physical remains!) Having said that, I don't know what else is around Holyrood Park to mark out the actual area of sanctuary... I think that S is about the only one in that area!
As for Google, I am finding it less and less useful every time I use it... or maybe I am looking for info that isn't indexed too well!
However, they certainly don't have the same function as they used to - criminals can't use them to "hide" at least!
Was that the only function they had? What I try to figure out is how much of these Sanctuaries existed in Scotland. Do you have a clue? Was it a common thing? Like you said, there is not much info out there, at least not indexed. I tried the UDS website as well but no joy so far, except for the one at Torphichen. And from what era are these sanctuaries? Too much questions and too little answers....
I have a few notes about them (mainly the one in Edinburgh)... but my notes are mostly written on paper so it might take a while to get all the info together! So, for now, I can't really answer your questions... but keep prompting me
The Maggie is one of Ealing studios lesser known comedies. A wily old skipper of a Western Isles 'Puffer' and his motley crew lead all who come into contact with them a fine old time! Many scenes on Islay!