1. Early christian stones
Kirkmadrine, Sandhead
Map Ref: NX 080483

Follow Historic Scotland signs from the A716 south of Sandhead. Restricted roadside parking. Walk up the tree-lined avenue to the church. Interpretation panel on site.

Crown ©, courtesy of Historic Scotland

In a glass-fronted porch at one end of this Victorian burial chapel are some of the oldest and most important Early Christian stones in Scotland. They were erected around AD 500 to mark the graves of priests serving a Christian community close to Kirkmadrine.

The oldest stone is a massive slab of local sandstone. At its head is a carving of a cross with a looped top; this is the "Chi-Rho", an early Christian symbol. Below is a Latin inscription commemorating two of Kirkmadrine's first bishops, Viventius and Mavorius. The second stone is inscribed Florentius, another of Kirkmadrine's priests. The third stone is simply inscribed INITIVM ET FINIS - "The Beginning and the End".

The other stones on display date from the 8th - 12th centuries.

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