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The theft of the Stone of Scone

Updated on March 12, 2011
Copy of the Stone of Scone
Copy of the Stone of Scone

What is the stone of Scone

Some readers may have come upon this article expecting a recipe for a scone but the stone of Scone is not edible. It is a piece of granite sometimes called the Stone of Destiny which is of great importance to Scottish historians, It is quite a size, 66cm by 40cm by 27cm and weighs 152 kg.

The stone gains its importance as it is purported to be the pillow stone used by Jacob in the bible. It has been used in the coronation of monarchs from Scotland and now for the United Kingdom. Kenneth Mac Alpin, the first King of Scots was crowned in 847 AD and the stone is believed to have been used at his coronation.

During the ascendancy of Robert the Bruce a part of the stone was hacked off and given to the King of Munsster, Ireland (Cormac McCarthy) who found a home for it at Blarney castle and named the stone the "Blarney stone".

In 1292, the stone saw its last coronation of a Scottish king with the coronation of John Balliol. In 1296, the stone was stolen by troops of Edward 1 of England and taken to Westminster Abbey where it became part of St. Edward's chair. Since then only one sovereign, Queen Mary 11 has not sat on St Edward's chair during the coronation ceremony.

The Stone is stolen

The stone remained in place until christmas day 1950 when four radical Scottish nationalist students took the stone intending to return it to Scotland. The four, Ian Hamilton, Gavin Vernon, Kay Matheson and Alan Stuart were all students at Glasgow university.

Whilst they were removing the stone they managed to break it into two pieces and left the larger part in the care of some gypsies in Kent whilst they started out for Scotland with the smaller part of the stone.

Both parts of the stone were reunited and given to a stonemason who repaired what he could. The stone was left in the ruins of Arbroath Abbey on 11th April 1951 and subsequently returned to Westminster Abbey.

the coronation throne
the coronation throne

Following its return to Westminster Abbey the stone occupied its place, being there for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. The four students were never prosecuted. Their attempt to steal the stone was negated when the stone was returned voluntarily in July 1996.

There are several rumours about the Stone of Scone. The first one is that it is a fake. The opportunities are that Edward 1 took a copy left out by the Scottish who hid the original or secondly that when it was stolen the Scottish stone mason kept the original and sent back a copy.


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    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 6 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      jacqui2011- thanks for your kind comments- i live in Beaumont Leys (anstey side of town)

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      What an interesting hub and a great read. I'm originally from Scotland, but moved to Oadby in Leicester 3 years ago so it was nice to hear the story again.

    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 7 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      James- thanks- it is these long forgotten stories which seem to attract the current generations

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      What a fascinating story! I love it! Thank you for iluminating my world tonight. :-)

    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 7 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      thankyou- please, come back any time

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image

      Hummingbird5356 7 years ago

      This is an interesting hub. Your other hubs look quite interesting I will have to come back to them.

    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 7 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      that is another hub in its own right, me thinks- might just start looking!

    • Christopher Price profile image

      Christopher Price 7 years ago from Vermont, USA

      It would be interesting to have what is thought to be the original stone analyzed to ascertain where the stone actually came the monoliths of Stonehenge.

      Was it from somewhere in the English isles or could it have really come from the region of the Holyland..."Jacobs pillow".

      Couldn't damage it much more than it already has been!