Inveravon Church and Pictish Stones

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We were planning to visit Ballindalloch Castle and I found a reference to some Pictish Stones in the church at nearby Inveravon, which looked worthy of a visit.

They are signed off the A95 to the north of the castle. The road drops steeply down through the trees to a small parking area. The church is set in a walled graveyard with guinea fowls wandering freely.

There has been a church on the site since at least the 12thC. The presence of the Pictish stones would suggest there was a significant settlement here from the 6th-8thC. The present building dates from 1806. It is an attractive white harled church with a small bell cote at the west end and a north porch containing the Pictish stones. A post Reformation church, it originally had a large pulpit in the centre of the south wall and wooden galleries at either end. It was remodelled in 1826 when a porch was added, the western gallery removed and the pulpit and communion table moved to the west end.

The church is not locked and entry is through the east door, into a small porch/storage area. A door leads into the church. It is a very simple whitewashed building with a wooden gallery above the door and wooden pews. It is light and airy inside with large plain glass windows. The organ, wooden pulpit and altar are at the west end. The back of the west wall is panelled and there are wooden chairs behind the altar. Above is a blue wall hanging with a wooden cross. There are a couple of brass memorials on the walls and two wall hanging tapestries.

In the graveyard is the large stone Macpherson vault with crow step gables and a small stone cross at either end. On the walls are 19/20thC memorial slabs.

The Pictish stones are kept in the north porch, having been moved here from the south wall. Movement sensitive lights come on as soon as you enter. These are some of the earliest Pictish stones dating from 6-8thC and have no Christian symbols on them. Designs are carved onto rough unshapen stones.

The centre stone is possibly the most impressive with a large carved eagle and an engraved mirror case above it.

To the right is another large stone with a crescent with V-rod at the top. Below is a circle with a bar across with smaller circles at the ends. Described as a triple disc and cross bar, this is thought to represent a cauldron seen from above… Below is a mirror and comb with carefully carved teeth.

To the left is a crudely carved stone with a crescent at the top with a V-rod and an unidentified animal below.

The last stone is a fragment mounted on the wall which has the carefully carved head of an animal with a long curved snout.

These are worth searching out as examples of some of the earliest Pictish stones.

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