A Place and a Stone
Scone – A myth in two ways.
Scone Palace is located near Perth, near the A93. Even without a legend, the neo-Gothic castle, built by the 3.Earl of Mansfield in the 19th century, is an enchanting place whose roots date back to the 9th century. At that time, Kenneth MacAlpin built the residence for his united Scottish-Pictish empire. As the focal point for this special place Kenneth MacAlpin brought a special stone!
That this is not any pebble, tell of it legends. The ‘Stone of Scone’ (spoken skuhn) is based on mythical narratives from the Holy Land. Jacob, the Son of Abraham, said to have rested on him while fleeing from his brother. At night he dreamed of a ladder, which reached up to heaven and on which the angels of God climbed up and down. The next morning, he poured oil over it and dedicated it to the Altar ‘Beth El’ (the House of God).
The story of the healing dream was a story on which Kenneth MacAlpin could build his empire. Another variant relates that the stone, blessed by St. Patrick, was brought to Scotland by irish Monks and handed over to Kenneth MacAlpin. Yet another legend says that the stone was brought to Scotland by Scota, daughter of an egyptian Pharaoh and immediately gave the land to his name. In another, the stone is said to have been part of King David’s Throne.
The exact origin of the stone is unknown. Sure is only – since Kenneth MacAlpin all Scottish rulers have been crowned on the stone! In the 12th century was also the custom that the future king of the Earl of Fife was led to the coronation on the Sandstone. Such documented coronations are those of Alexander II. (1214), Alexander III. (1249) and John Balliol (1292). Also in Macbeth there is this custom:
“And to see us crowned with a crown, we expect you in the Palace to Scone”
The stone is said to have originally been a metal plate with a Prophecy in gaelic Script.
Robert Louis Stevenson replaces you as follows:
Unless the fates be faulty grown and prophe´s voice be vain, where er is found this sacred stone the scottish race will reign.
The Prophecy is said to have come true when, after the death of Elizabeth, Mary Stuart’s son James became King of Scotland and England.
At that time, however, the stone had “involuntarily” moved. When King Eduard I. defeated the Scots in 1296, he took him as spoils of War to Westminster Abbey and had him installed under the coronation Throne of the english Kings. There he stayed for the next centuries.
In 1950 he was “stolen” by scottish Students in nationalist Zeal and brought to Scotland. Four months later, he was found by Scotland Yard and brought back to Westminster, so that Queen Elisabeth could sit on him at her coronation in 1953. However, there are rumors that this was a fake. As early as 1296, the augustinian Monks were supposed to have made a Replica of a convent in Scone and used it to feed King Eduard. In 1996, after 700 years, the stone was returned to Edinburgh Castle in a solemn Ceremony. When British Prime Minister John Major announced this in July, it was sometimes criticized by the Press as a mere election maneuver. One of the british Newspapers wrote:
The Scots asked for a parliament and John Major gave them a stone!
Maybe the Stone will be “borrowed” at the next Coronation of a british Monarch in Westminster ?!
Hollywood was also inspired by the Stone of Scone. In the Episode ‘The Throne of Scotland‘ (original Title: The Stone of Scone, Season 5, Episode 15), of the Television Series Highlander, he also plays a role.
In 2008, the Theft from Westminster Abbey was filmed by Charles Martin Smith in ‘Stone of Destiny’. In this Film, the breakage of the Stone, which he suffered during the Theft, is only discovered by the Students, but not caused.