DCSIMG

The story behind the stolen Stone

This is the very first picture taken of the Stone of Destiny when it was returned to Arbroath Abbey in April 1951, three months after its disappearance from Westminster Abbey. The Stone is seen in the care of James Wishart, custodian of the Abbey who received it from Councillors Thornton and Gardiner, intermediaries between the persons who had retrieved the Stone in London and kept it hidden since Christmas Eve 1950.

This is the very first picture taken of the Stone of Destiny when it was returned to Arbroath Abbey in April 1951, three months after its disappearance from Westminster Abbey. The Stone is seen in the care of James Wishart, custodian of the Abbey who received it from Councillors Thornton and Gardiner, intermediaries between the persons who had retrieved the Stone in London and kept it hidden since Christmas Eve 1950.

A nationwide police hunt in 1950 followed one of the most famous episodes in recent Scottish history and is now to be told to people visiting Arbroath Abbey.

On Christmas Day 1950, four Scottish students took the Stone of Destiny from beneath the Coronation Throne in Westminster Abbey.

Four months later it was deposited in Arbroath Abbey on the site of the High Altar.

The stone was later returned to Westminster Abbey and now resides in Edinburgh Castle.

The fascinating story is now on display and as part of it, Ian Hamilton, a former advocate and one of the students involved in the removal of the stone, has recorded an interview which gives a first-hand account of the event.

The Arbroath Abbey Action Group is delighted that Historic Scotland is displaying a replica Stone of Destiny, along with Ian Hamilton’s commentary in the Abbey Visitor Centre.

Harry Ritchie, from the Arbroath Abbey Action Group, reminisces: “I was actually at the Abbey when the Stone was delivered. My friend and I were walking along the Millgate on April 11 1951 and stopped to look in the window of the Arbroath Herald where there was a notice ‘The Stone of Destiny will arrive at Arbroath Abbey today’.

“A car came along Abbey Street, some men lifted it from the car and carrying the Stone up to the High Altar they placed the Stone and bowed their heads.

“They got back into their car and drove away. After two minutes the police arrived and took the Stone away!”

An audio visual including extracts of the interview with Ian Hamilton appears alongside a lifesize replica of the Stone of Destiny, which has been put on display for the first time within the abbey.

Lorna Ewan, head of visitor experience, content and learning for Historic Scotland, said: “Arbroath Abbey has a long and fascinating history.

“This new display will explore one of the most recent – and perhaps one of the most famous events in its long history.”

 

Comments

 
 

Back to the top of the page

 

X scottish independence image

Keep up-to-date with all the latest Referendum news