Scheduled Monument

Clach a' Charridh,cross slab (Shandwick Stone)SM1674

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (

The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Supplementary Information Updated
Crosses and carved stones: cross slab; symbol stone
Local Authority
Nigg (Highland)
NH 85545 74719
285545, 874719


The monument consists of an upright slab of sandstone, carved on both sides (one side with a cross), which probably dates from around AD 800. Under J Romilly Allen's classification, it is a Class II Pictish Symbol Stone.

Clach a'Charridh stands at the edge of a break of slope on a hillside running down towards the village of Shandwick and the shore, and appears to be in its original position. It measures nearly 3m high by 1m broad. The front of the slab (facing seawards) bears a cross formed by a double row of protuding bosses. Flanking the shaft of the cross are 2 angels with outspread wings, 2 beasts (possibly lions) and 2 panels of snakes or serpents. Below the cross are 4 large low bosses, surrounded by snakes meeting face to face.

The back of the slab (facing inland) is divided into 5 panels, carved in lower relief than is the front. The top 2 panels bear Pictish symbols - a double disc and a beast (both common on Class I Symbol Stones). The third panel depicts a complex scene of Pictish life, with 22 figures including horseriders, men fighting and hunting scenes. The largest panel has a pattern of 52 triskeles (3-in-1 spirals) arranged in a circular pattern. The lowest panel is divided into four, each with a different pattern.

The stone was blown over in 1846, at which point it broke in two, but it was repaired and it has recently (1988) been conserved and a glass shelter constructed around it. It is set into its original socket stone. An excavation around the stone in 1988 revealed details of the support provided for the socket stone and post pits presumably used to help raise the stone. It is also suggested that the cross-slab initially possessed a narrow 'tang' (now missing) which fitted into the socket stone, but which was lost either in 1846 or in antiquity. No evidence was revealed by the excavation for any burials in the area of the cross slab, although local tradition suggests that there is an ancient burial ground either around the stone or in its immediate vicinity.

The cross slab is one of a series of particularly impressive Early Christian carved stones in Easter Ross. Stylistically, it is particularly closely related to the stones at both Nigg and Hilton of Cadboll, although it has been suggested that it is the latest of the three. The existence of this local school of sculpture demonstrates the wealth of this area in the late 8th and early 9th centuries, the probable date of their production. The style influenced a wide area, extending as far as Iona where it has been suggested that sculptors from Easter Ross assisted in the carving of St John's and St Oran's Crosses.

The area to be scheduled consists of a circle 10m in diameter, centred on the stone, as defined in red on the accompanying map. It includes the stone and an area of ground which, although it has been partly excavated, contains evidence for the methods used to erect and support the stone. The scheduling is to exclude the above-ground structure of the shelter constructed around the stone.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as a richly-carved cross slab dating from the late 8th or early 9th centuries AD. It is one of the most important of the Pictish carved stones which are amongst the greatest works of art of

Early Historic date in Western Europe. Study of Clach a' Charridh has the potential to extend our understanding of sculptural techniques, the organisation of the sculptural profession and ecclesiastical organisation in Early Historic Scotland.



The monument is recorded in the RCAHMS as NH 87 SE 4.


Allen, J. R. (1903) 'Early Christian Monuments of Scotland', p 68-73.

Close-Brooks, J. (1986) 'Exploring Scotland's Heritage: The Highlands', p126.

About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


There are no images available for this record, you may want to check Canmore for images relating to Clach a' Charridh,cross slab (Shandwick Stone)

There are no images available for this record.

Search Canmore

Printed: 02/12/2023 18:48