Prehistoric.org.uk - Midmar Kirk - Recumbent Stone Circle | 2024 Archive

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Midmar Kirk - Grampian, Scotland
Recumbent Stone Circle
National Grid Reference: NJ 699 064

show a map

How To Get There

From Echt follow the B9119 west for about 3 miles. Turn right at sign to Midmar Kirk. The circle is in the churchyard.

This was a circle that I was looking forward to seeing tremendously. When I first saw pictures of this site I thought that this was a great example of "continuous use" of a sacred site. It turns out however that the church was only built here in the 18th century and the graveyard was only set out early in the 20th. I still wonder why the builders of the church chose this spot, and to keep the circle intact.

The recumbent stone (shown above) is interesting in that the visitor can clearly see where stones were inserted underneath in order to keep the top of the stone horizontal. The recumbent is all of 14 feet long and the flankers over 8 feet high.

It was claimed that none of the stones were disturbed during the process of "Christianising" this site, but the grading so typical of recumbent circles is all wrong which leads one to speculate that they may have been moved. The central area is also somewhat suspect. There is no sign of the typical cairn, instead something more closely resembling a bowling green.

This circle proved somewhat tricky to photograph due to the low light levels induced by the trees and also the positioning of the circle in relation to the church and the head stones. On the day that these photos were taken I also had to contend with a truck parked up right by the circle (just out of shot of the picture above) and a JCB right behind it. Midmar Kirkyard was getting ready to welcome another long term guest. I hope that you will forgive me for "painting out" the JCB in the topmost photograph, maybe I should reinstate it...? Those who want to play "spot the JCB" should send email...

Nearby Sites

Sunhoney

Related Sites

Easter Aquorthies
Sunhoney
Loanhead of Daviot

Notes

Continuous Use :-

The same plot of land being regarded as "sacred" over a number of millennia is something I find quite amazing. Timber circles followed by stone circles followed by Christian churches all built one after the other at the same place. Different people, different cultures, different religions - but all chosing the same spot to worship. In the case of this stone circle the church is quite modern, however there was still a decision that it should be built on this spot occupied by a sacred structure from thousands of years before. See also Rudston.

 

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This prehistoric site has been rescued for historical reasons by History X's archive