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St Vigeans Sculptured Stones

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Address: 3-4 Kirkstyle | St Vigeans, Arbroath DD11 4RB, Scotland
Phone Number:
+44 1241 878756

It is hard to believe that this sleepy Angus village of St Vigeans was once...

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.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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Very interesting feature of a village

This attraction is very interesting featuring Pictish stones in a museum but the entire area is worth a visit. Quiet little village with an interesting church and at times a... read more

Reviewed 2 weeks ago
Wakefield, United Kingdom
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17 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 17: English reviews
Wakefield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
50 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

This attraction is very interesting featuring Pictish stones in a museum but the entire area is worth a visit. Quiet little village with an interesting church and at times a reenactment

Thank Great_ani_Mal
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
728 reviews
334 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 377 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 July 2016

The museum sadly lacks standard tourist signs for some hard to fathom reason and this has resulted in the museum only being open by special request - hard to understand given the exceptional collection of Pictish stones that reside within and the grant money that has been well spent on their presentation and interpretation. The Historic Environment Scotland guide book... More 

Thank Rossergruffydd
Level Contributor
34 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 July 2016

This small museum is packed to the brim with lovely Pictish stones...a must visit for any Pictish enthusiast! The stones are well presented with suitable lighting bringing out the carving detail, and each stone is accompanied with interesting information. Well worth a visit.

1 Thank Murno
Level Contributor
55 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 June 2016

You need to make a reservation to see the stones because they are in a purpose-built museum. Make the call! If you are into history and the Picts this is a must see. The stones are amazing and well preserved. Beautifully carved figures of animals, people, Pictish symbols, and religious symbols. Fionna, who can best be described as an historian,... More 

2 Thank Mara M
Noosaville, Australia
Level Contributor
107 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 January 2015

Go to the effort of organizing to get into this place really fantastic then up the hill to the church another worthwhile place - very out of the way place but was the original church before Arbroath Abbey

1 Thank BJH-CA
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
55 reviews
52 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 September 2014

Before the Romans, Gaels, Vikings, Normans, or Saxons left their marks on Scotland, the Picts dominated the north. With rare exception, they left behind little historical record, but the archeological record includes a rich collection of artifacts, most notably their highly-illustrative carved stones. Today, the interpretation of the iconography used in these stones remains speculative, although many of the carvings... More 

3 Thank Tyrven
Mallow, Ireland
Level Contributor
184 reviews
90 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 177 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 September 2014

If you're driving from the Forfar direction, the museum isn't that easy to find as there are no brown tourist signs to the attraction. The ordinary white roadsign to St Vigeans is the one you take, going through a rather unpromising industrial area and modern housing developments - but eventually a sign to the Museum and church does appear .It... More 

2 Thank Jane A
Friday Harbor, Washington
Level Contributor
15 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 June 2014

If you have any interest at all in Pictish history this little museum at St Vigeans is well worth a visit. The best way to get there is to walk on the Brothock Burn trail from Arbroath, about a mile & a half pleasant walk one way. I don't think they can afford to keep the museum open all the... More 

2 Thank Robin B
Arbroath, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 November 2013

Some bits of Pictish stones in a hovel which you have to pay to see. And only if you can find someone to open the door. But if you do visit St Vigeans, have a look at the church on the mound. And the nature trail alongside the Brothock Burn. Much more interesting.

Thank John M
Arbroath, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 November 2013

Opening hours are erratic but it maybe that staff are not available. The museum was refurbished a few years ago and the display boards and descriptions are splendid.

Thank Croftsmuirsteading

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