The Hanging Stone on Gallows Hill

Mounthooly Doocot

Searching for the Hanging Stone

A couple of years ago, I decided to look for the Hanging Stone near Rosehearty, here in Aberdeenshire. It’s a witch stone, a place of historical execution and, according to local folklore, ‘dooking’ as well.

I knew the stone was in the vicinity of the Mounthooly Doocot (pigeon house), pictured above and below, so headed there first.

*Experiences mild jealousy of past self, so gung-ho in the ability to just get up and go out.*

Mounthooly Doocot

Turning 360 degrees, searching the skyline, the stone was finally spotted, embedded in a dry-stane dyke. That’s a dry-stone wall; there’s a great art and skill to building these traditional field boundaries.

The Hanging Stone on the horizon.

I walked from the Mounthooly car park, along narrow roads and then up the field.

The Hanging Stone on Gallows Hill, Rosehearty, Aberdeenshire

And there it was. The stone was quite tall, much taller than me, and wrapped round with barbed wire, which seemed somehow appropriate, given its dark past.

The Hanging Stone on Gallows Hill, Rosehearty, Aberdeenshire

History of the Hanging Stone

The Hanging Stone is quite possibly an ancient standing stone which later came to be associated with execution. It’s very square. Carved that way, I think.

Nearby is ‘The Pit’, said to have been ‘for witches’ and to have been used for ‘dooking’. This was a practice that involved testing someone in water to see if they would sink or float, and thereby prove if they were a witch or not. I did not see The Pit, and, as I walked away, focused my attention on the great beauty of the ocean views.

The stone on the Canmore archaeological site

The Hanging Stone on Gallows Hill, Rosehearty, Aberdeenshire

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16 Replies to “The Hanging Stone on Gallows Hill”

  1. Really interesting, and that stone looks ghoulish. I presume there was a gallows
    on top? Good news that you are slowly improving, but I can imagine how frustrating not to be able to just be out and about!

  2. When I lived in Virginia Beach, we had a road called Witch Duck because the early colonists used it to test to see if a woman was a witch. If she drowned she wasn’t a witch. But the she floated then she must be a witch and was likely killed.

    Things aren’t a lot better now.

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