Fontstane

Font stane

In a little wood of beech trees, about five hundred yards south of Grange House, is a block of Old Red Sandstone, popularly known as the Font Stone. Made roughly of a truncated square, pyramidal form, standing two feet above the soil. The base measuring 4 by 3 1/2 feet, and the top 3 1/4by 2 3/4 feet.

The stone, which shows marks of tooling, must weigh fully two tons, but as much of it may be sunk in the earth, its weight may be greater.

On the centre of the top is a rectangular socket, one foot two inches long, one foot broad and seven inches deep, the longest edge of which is parallel to the shorter edge of the stone; and apparently under some notion that this socket had been cut to hold water, a former generation had connected it with baptismal ceremonies, and gave to it the present name it bears.

Mr Millar in his article on the Parish in the “ New Statistical Account” considered that it had been the base for the shaft of a cross.”

So far no excavations have been made about this block, and except that it had probably contained some large stone monument commemorating some event, or perhaps a cross, where wayfarers stopped and made his devotions, we can conjecture nothing.

(It may have been the socket for a cross marking the boundary of the `girth`)

By what means the stone has been quarried and brought to this place must also remain conjectural, and we can only hope that this relic will remain where it is immune from destruction.

Sanctuary.

In common with other Scottish communities, the pre Reformation Church in Monifieth gave sanctuary to fugitives until such time as the Church authorities decided to withdraw the protection and allow justice to be administered according to the law of the day.

Churches with burial grounds also had the right of protection, which would have applied to the chapels of Broughty and Balmossie, if not those at Ethiebeaton and Kingennie. Many churches had a special privilege known as `Sanctuary`, the limits of immunity about the church being marked by four stone crosses, within which area was called the `girth`, within which a fugitive found refuge.

A distance of thirty paces from the boundaries of the churchyard was the `girth` and this was the cause of most ale houses standing in proximity to the church.

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