A pair of Pictish symbols

George Bain didn’t draw very many pre-Christian Pictish incised stones. This one, however, has strong family connections. It was found with another Pictish symbol stone on the farm of Drumbuie, by Drumnadrochit, where his wife, Jessie, was brought up.

He may have drawn it while the couple were visiting her family for holidays. At that time both stones were at Balmacaan House, which overlooks the village. Alternatively he drew it when they retired north, to live close to Jessie’s home. Bain clearly had various opportunities to copy these two incised stones. This one has the snake twisted around a Z-rod and the double disc, both regular symbols.

The Pictish stones were found when ploughing land in 1864. The two had formed the covering of a cist, a stone box used over 1,000 years ago for burying the dead.