The Famous Stone of Scone
The date 15 November 1996 is a day to remember for Scotland, as it was the day when the Stone of Scone, also referred to as the Stone of Destiny, was returned. While in London, at Westminster Abbey, it was known as the Coronation Stone. For centuries it has been used in coronation ceremonies for the monarchs of Scotland and later for the same purpose for the monarchs of England. There are many legends surrounding the origins of the stone, although its exact origin cannot be confirmed.
It is the tale of Fergus that does seem to be most credible, historically speaking. Son of Ferchard, Fergus is believed to have brought the Stone of Scone to Scotland from Ireland, and was crowned the King of Scots using the stone. It is said that the stone was placed in the Monastery of Scone, but was taken as spoils of war by Edward I in 1296, taking it to Westminster Abbey. There the stone was built into a chair that was aptly named King Edward’s Chair, and became the seat where future monarchs were crowned.
In 1950 a group of Scottish students took it upon themselves to steal the stone back, and after a massive police inquiry the stone was kept at the Arbroath Abbey. Once the London police found out about its whereabouts the stone was handed back and returned to Westminster Abbey. Unfortunately, it was found that the stone had suffered some damage.
With growing pressure from the Scots, the decision was taken to return the stone to Scotland when it was not in use. It now resides is Edinburgh Castle, in the Crown Room, surrounded by Scotland’s crown jewels. It was agreed that the stone would return to Westminster Abbey when a coronation takes place. The last time the stone was used in Scotland for a coronation was in 1292, with the crowning of John Balliol.
The stone is approximately 660 millimetres by 425 millimetres by 270 millimetres, and weighs in the region of a hundred and fifty-two kilograms. The Stone of Scone also gained fame in various books, films and television shows where it was either used during the plot or reference was made to it. It featured in an episode of Pendragon of the Gargoyles, the game Clandestiny, Highlander: The Series, Stone of Destiny and The Fifth Elephant. For now, the Stone of Scone remains the pride of Scotland.