Mysterious History of Sueno’s Stone

On the north-easterly edge of Forres lies Moray’s own piece of Picto-Scottish history, Sueno’s Stone.

The Pictish Stone is one of the largest surviving of its type, standing over 6.5 metres high.  Situated on a raised bank on a now isolated section of the former road to Findhorn, the stone has a rich history and is definitely worth a visit while in the area.

Great shot from Mary and Angus Hogg

The stone has beautiful, intricate carvings of an ancient battle on one side, and a large Celtic cross on the other.  The height and the incredible attention to detail makes the artefact quite the sight to see.

Sueno’s Stone has a rich and interesting history that is still being debated to this day.  Some historians believe that the stone depicts the defeat of the Picts by the Scots of Dalriada under Kenneth MacAlpin in 841, which would suggest that it is actually not a Pictish stone, due to the fact that history is always recorded by the victors.

Other historians believe that it depicts a battle between the forces of Norse King Swein Forkbeard (“Sueno”) against the Scots, which is where the stone’s modern day name comes from.  Others have theorised that the stone was carved to commemorate the battle that took place in Forres in 966, when King Duff (“Dubh”) of Alba fought for control over Moray.

Sueno’s Stone from Nelson Tower thanks to Valenta

The slab weighs over seven tons, and evidence suggests that it fell or was pushed over at some point near the 1600s, only to be uncovered again in the 1700s and re-erected near where it was found.  There are informative signposts with information about the stone surrounding it, so you can learn more upon visiting.

The stone also has links to the great English poet, playright and actor, Shakespeare, as local legend states that it is at the crossroads where Macbeth originally met the three witches.  In the legend, the witches were imprisoned inside the stone and should the stone be broken they would be released.

In spite of its questionable history, Sueno’s Stone is still a great attraction to visit, and you can investigate the carvings and come up with your own conclusions to which battle it commemorates!

When you tire from checking out Sueno’s Stone, you can return to your comfortable stay at Carden Cottages, which is only a 15 minute drive away.