Scheduled Monument

Four Pictish symbol stones, The Bass and Little Bass, Inverurie CemeterySM74

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: symbol stone
Local Authority
NJ 78116 20598
378116, 820598


The monument consists of the remains of four Class I Pictish symbols stones. The stones were previously located 100m west northwest of their present location and are now in a glass display case on The Bass and Little Bass, motte-and-bailey castle (Scheduled Monument SM99). This is located within Inverurie Cemetery.

The stones are believed to have been previously built into the walls of the old parish church, which stood in the northwest corner of the adjacent cemetery. The kirk went out of use in 1775, its walls were used as a source to construct or repair the dykes of the kirkyard in the early 19th century. Three of the symbol stones were later removed from the dykes and while another was rescued when the walls were being constructed. The four symbol stones are now in a glass display case, known as and arranged (from left to right) as; Inverurie numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Inverurie number 1 is a Class I symbol stone, which bears a crescent and V-rod, a mirror case, a serpent and rod, and a double disk and Z-rod, lies horizontally upon two pairs of rectangular blocks. A pink granite slab, it is irregular in shape, and measures 1.76m in length by 0.52m in breadth and 0.36m in thickness. The portion of the stone bearing the neck and head of the serpent, which was described in the early 20th century, is now also missing. The double disk and Z-rod symbol lies below this, but one disk is entirely lost, and only a little over half of the other is preserved. The presence of four symbols on one face of a Class I stone is unusual.

Inverurie number 2 is a fragment of a larger slab, which has been cut down for reuse as a building stone. A roughly square block of pink granite, it measures 0.32m high, 0.42m in breadth and 0.19m in thickness. The face bears portions of two incised symbols. The upper, at the top, is a mirror case is what appears to be the upper half of a large disk or an arch.

Inverurie number 3 bears a circular symbol and a double disc Z-rod. This is also a block of pink granite, trimmed in reuse as building material. It measures at least 0.75m in height, by 0.62m in breadth and 0.28m in thickness. It bears the remains of a circle, which could be a disc symbol or a mirror symbol, and the double disc and Z-rod.

Inverurie number 4 is an unshaped block of pale pink granite with a pointed head, it measures 0.82m in breadth by 0.31m in thickness at ground level and stands 1.23m in height. On the lower half of its west face it bears the incised figure of a horse in motion.

The scheduled area includes only the four symbol stones. The scheduling excludes all elements of the glass display case, symbol stone supports/stands, related signage and the ground on which the stones and case stand (the ground is already designated as Scheduled Monument SM99). As shown in red on the accompanying map.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is nationally important as a collection of Class I Pictish Symbol Stones, although each individual stone is of national importance in its own right due to the information it provides on the art, society and material culture of the Picts.



The monument is recorded in RCAHMS as NJ 72 SE 11.01, 11.02, 11.03, 11.04.

Bibliography (includes):

Allen and Anderson, J R and J (1903) The early Christian monuments of Scotland: a classified illustrated descriptive list of the monuments with an analysis of their symbolism and ornamentation, Edinburgh, pt. 3, 168-170.

Gordon, C A (1967) 'The Pictish animals observed', Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot., 98, 1964-6, 98.

Henderson, I M (1972) 'The Picts of Aberdeenshire and their monuments', Archaeol J, 129, 1972, 168-70.

Laing, L R (1975) 'Picts, Saxons and Celtic metalwork', Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot., 105, 1972-4, 193.

Mack, A (1997) Field guide to the Pictish symbol stones, Balgavies, Angus, 77-78.

RCAHMS (1994) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Pictish symbol stones: a handlist 1994, Edinburgh, 9.

Ritchie, J N G (1985) Pictish symbol stones: a handlist 1985, Edinburgh, 7.

Ritchie, J (1911) 'Some old crosses and unlettered sepulchral monuments in Aberdeenshire',

Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot., 45, 1910-11, 343-5.

SDD (1960) List of Buildings of Architectural or Historical Interest, (Lists held in Architectural Department of RCAHMS) Scottish Development Department, Inverurie (burgh), (July 1968), no. 18.

Shepherd and Ralston, I A G and I B M (1979) Early Grampian: a guide to the archaeology, Aberdeen, 30.

Stuart, J (1856) Sculptured stones of Scotland, 1, Aberdeen, 35.

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.

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Printed: 25/10/2021 13:47