From the start of Scottish history until 1296, Scottish kings were crowned using the Stone of Scone as a throne. This stone was kept at Scone Abbey near Perth, Scotland. Legend has it the stone originally came from Ireland when the Celts crossed the Argyll Sea and settled in what would later become known as Scotland. The stone is made of red limestone, measures 26 inches by 16.75 inches by 10.5 inches, and weighs approximately 336 pounds.
In 1296, Edward I of England (also known as Longshanks because of his height) invaded Scotland. His invasion got as far north as Elgin near the North Sea. On this trip, Edward took back to England several Scottish artifacts including the Stone of Scone (or so it is thought). Apparently he had iron rings set into each side of the stone for transporting purposes. Even so, it would not have been easy to move. He took the stone to Westminster Abbey and placed it under his throne to symbolize sitting on the Scottish people. There it stayed for nearly seven hundred years until Christmas Day 1950. A group of four Scottish students somehow entered the abbey and stole the stone.
In the process, the stone broke into two pieces. The students took the pieces to Scotland where it was professionally repaired. The English caused a search for the stone, but never found it. Eventually, the stone was left at Arbroath Abbey on April 11, 1951 in the care of the Church of Scotland. The Church informed the London police the whereabouts of the stone, and it was returned to Westminster Abbey.
In 1996, during a time of unrest on the part of Scotland, the British Government decided to return the stone to Scotland. It arrived at Edinburgh Castle November 30, 1996 and now is kept with the crown jewels of Scotland. There is also a replica of the stone at Scone Palace outside of Perth.
Several questions abound regarding the authenticity of the stone at Edinburgh.
Was the stone Edward took to London, the real stone, or was the real stone hidden and a fake stone taken? If so, where is the original?
Was the stone returned in 1951 the same stone that was taken from Westminster Abbey, or was a fake returned?
Is the stone in Edinburgh the real stone, or is maybe the replica at Scone actually the real stone?
Has the original stone been hidden somewhere no one remembers.?
I doubt anyone will ever know for sure.
Me sitting on the replica of the Stone of Scone at Scone Palace, Perth
In case you can’t read it, the sign says, “MOOT OR ‘BOOT’ HILL Site of the coronation of the Kings of Scotland and of Scottish Parliaments. Artificial mound created by earth brought in the boots of lords swearing loyalty to their King.”
Just a shot of the beautiful grounds at Scone Palace.