Scheduled Monument

Sandside House,Reay,two carved stonesSM616

Status: Designated


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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
Crosses and carved stones: cross-incised stone; symbol stone
Local Authority
NC 95193 65169
295193, 965169


The monument consists of two carved stones of Early Historic date, both in the garden of Sandside House, Reay.

The more easterly of the two stones is a roughly rectangular slab of sandstone, measuring approximately 1.45m tall by 0.6m wide by 0.1m thick. It is sculptured on one face with incised symbols of Pictish type and is thus a Class I symbol stone. At the top are a horizontal row of 3 vertically-aligned flattened ovals, joined together in the middle by pairs of small circles, and having a double outline at the tops and bottoms of the ovals; below this is carved a mirror-case symbol; and at the bottom are the mirror and comb symbols. The symbol of the 3 ovals is very infrequent.

This stone was discoved c.1853 near the remains of an early settlement on the sand links by the shore at Sandside. It is held against a retaining wall in the garden by iron cramps and is currently set upside down, with the three ovals at the bottom. There is a crack across the middle of the stone.

The more westerly of the two stones is a rectangular block of sandstone measuring 0.75m tall by 0.22m wide by 0.2m thick. It is sculptured on one face only. At the top is incised a small circle or orb 0.1m in diameter, containing an equal-armed cross. Beneath is a plain circle 0.2m in diameter, occupying the width of the stone. In the bottom left hand corner is carved the date 1911.

This stone was found built into a stone dyke near Tigh a'Bheannaich at Shurrery (at approximately ND0357), the site of a chapel of early origin. It is now set into a garden wall to the E of Sandside House.

The area to be scheduled is in two parts. The more easterly area is rectangular and measures 1m N-S by approximately 0.5m E-W, aligned with the stone, to include the symbol stone and the portion of wall against which it stands. The more westerly area consists of a length of garden wall 1m long, centred on the stone, and measures approximately 0.7m N-S by 1m E-W, to include the carved stone and the wall into which it is set. These areas are indicated in red on the accompanying map extract

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as two stones bearing carvings of probable Early Historic date. Such stones provide important evidence for social and ecclesiastical organisation, the spread of Christianity and settlement patterns in Early Historic Scotland. In addition, study of the stone bearing Pictish symbols has the potential to add to our knowledge of the meaning of such Pictish carvings.



Allan, J. R. 'Early Christian Monuments of Scotland', 29-30.

RCAHMS,'Caithness', 109.


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


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Printed: 26/05/2024 21:56