I’ve always been intrigued by this photo taken by Chris Ladds in 2006. Found near Crossbasket, was an unusually worked stone, in a configuration that leaves a lot to be thought about. What was it? I once thought it may have been a marker stone or even a grave stone, where the straight part would be lodged into the ground, the top triangular part left to be visible above ground. Another theory, suggested by Chris, is that it may have been part of a Celtic Cross, i.e one arm of several and of course given the location, could this actually have been part of the cross that once stood at Crossbasket, and possibly even gave its name to the site?
Well, from September 2015, aside from a passion of local history, I now have something else in common with Chris. For I found a stone like this too!
On Thursday 10th September, during a day off work, I set off with
Blantyre men Alex Rochead and Thomas (Eddie) McAleenan down to Blantyre Priory. We intended to explore around the Priory, so I took my shovel along, that fine morning. Knowing the Priory itself is a listed building, of course we didn’t disturb any of those stones, but into the woodlands to the south lay scattered stone, some distance off and it was these I started to scrape away, turn over and dig around.
During some exploration, part of our dig uncovered this stone. I picked on it right away as immediately i could see the distinctive design, similar to Chris’s find 9 years earlier. Perhaps not so worked or in as good condition as the Crossbasket stone, I am of the opinion that it is a similar design, the coincidence of finding such in another religious area, perhaps too much to ignore. I cleaned off the stone, put my boot up against it for scale and took this photo. My own feeling is that these type of stones are part of a building, or some sort of other structure, now forgotten. To find these 2 stones only a mile or so apart is very interesting to me. The stone was reburied safely, the location imprinted on my memory.