The village of Meigle may be tiny but in the world of Pictish and Scottish early-Christian art it is a giant.
The village’s old schoolhouse now serves as the Meigle Museum and is packed with treasures from the 7th to 10th centuries.
Many are former gravestones, and the premier piece is a two-meter tall slab that’s supposedly the gravestone of Guinevere, wife of King Arthur.
But the significance of many of the other stone is a mystery – as is the meaning of most of their elegant and intricate carved patterns and symbols. Among them are fantastical creatures, warriors and hunting scenes – while on later pieces these are joined by Christian symbolism.
That so many of these stones ended up a Meigle makes people assume that the place was of particular spiritual significance.
But in truth little is known for definite about this or almost everything else to do with the Picts. From their cultural isolation in Roman times to their later absorption into Gaelic culture, not many clues were left about them One thing we know that is that places beginning with “Pit” (like Pitlochry) are former Pictish settlements.
To see more pictish stones ask at any local tourist office for the free Angus Pictish Trail leaflet, which lists are the main sites. There’s a similar Pictish Trail on the Black Isle, just northeast of Inverness.
For a full list of sites and the current thinking on the meaning of all the symbols pick up two books by Anthony Jackson: The Pictish Trail and The Symbol Stones of Scotland (both are Amazon UK links).