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“Discovering Pictland”

St Vigeans Stones and Museum
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Historic Scotland Explorer Pass
Ranked #10 of 27 things to do in Arbroath
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Owner description: It is hard to believe that this sleepy Angus village of St Vigeans was once the centre of a royal estate and of huge religious importance, bustling with prayerful pilgrims and monks. Admittedly, this was more than 1,000 years ago, so visitors could be forgiven for missing the evidence that is scattered around and in the walls of the late medieval church (not HS) perched on a striking 40ft mound in front of them.The most important indications of the village’s powerful past can be found, however, in two adjoining sandstone cottages along its only street. Within their walls in Historic Scotland’s museum are housed 38 carved stones, which had once stood up on the old church mound to broadcast early messages of the true Christian faith. The newly refurbished museum gives overdue recognition to the significance of the carvings. ‘The stones are among the last and very finest expressions of Pictish art, which makes them tremendously important – part of our national collection of the earliest art of Scotland. The quality of carving on some of the stones is as good as anything in Western Europe at that time. These included the Drosten Stone, a cross-slab dating from the early 800s and inscribed in both Latin and Pictish, carved on one side with a cross and on the other with figures and symbols; a house shrine; and a fragment of a huge freestanding cross. As well as their historical significance, there is much to intrigue visitors in the carvings, such as devilish imps, saintly figures and bizarre beasts. There are also vivid depictions of the everyday life of the Picts. They illustrate the reality of their world: details of contemporary costumes, riding equipment, and a crossbow man.
London, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
131 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“Discovering Pictland”
Reviewed 18 October 2012

Having visited the Meigle Museum of Pictish stones some years ago, it came as a welcome surprise on my recent visit that there was a second museum in the area. This is open by appointment only but a phonecall was all that was needed for the museum to open - just for me, on a Sunday morning - much appreciated. The display is well set out with good explanations and although there is still far too little known about the Picts so even this museum leaves you with a lot of questions, it does provide a good insight into more recent research.

Visited October 2012
1 Thank GerlindR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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18 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Hamilton, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
218 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 154 helpful votes
“Scottish history”
Reviewed 10 July 2012

A fine example of Scottish (and pictish) history. Well worth visiting.

Visited July 2012
1 Thank ClovaTheWestie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Family member buried opposite the stone to has great interest to me”
Reviewed 11 June 2012

Well worth the visit and it is free and in the open. Amazing

Visited June 2012
Thank Evy49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Montrose, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
44 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“As good a little collection as you get...if you are into stones!”
Reviewed 26 February 2012

Best to phone and arrange in advance to ensure you get access. Well worth a visit as one of the better collections on sites around Angus including the stones at Brechin and the little Museum at Meigle. Some astonishing carved stones and some lovely surprises hidden in the detail.

Visited July 2011
Thank RJCScotland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Forfar, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
61 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 181 helpful votes
“painted peoples finest”
Reviewed 2 February 2012

enigmatic and atmospheric history in the raw learn about these mysterious people

1 Thank redimondo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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