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Royal story behind fascinating carvings.

Byline: Alastair McNeill

The stones on the Albany Crescent houses are thought to refer to King James I of Scotland and the treachery of powerful nobles.

Prince James, heir to the Scottish throne, had been on his way to France in March 1406 when the boat in which he was travelling was captured by an English vessel.

The following month his father Robert III died, making James the uncrowned King of Scots. He spent the next 18 years in England as a hostage.

During that time James's lands were taken over by regent Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, depriving the king of any income.

Albany, king of Scotland in all but name, died in 1420 and was as succeeded by his son Murdoch.

After James returned to Scotland in 1425, he executed the Duke for treason on Mote Hill behind Stirling Castle where the beheading stone now stands.

Albany Crescent, demolished in the 1960s, had stood underneath the hill.

The lion rampant with the axe - depicted on one of the stones - is thought to represent James's revenge on the Albany Stewarts and their allies on his return from captivity.

The other stone, known as the'magic stone'contains the inscription'What E-er ThoughArt,ACTWELLTHYPART,'alsohas nine compartments. It is thought that, using the numbers two to ten, it adds up to 18 in every direction, referring to the 18 years James I spent in captivity.

The symbolism of the stones was worked out by stone conservator and project manager MandyWatson, of Alloa, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, who has also worked ONVENICE's St Mark's Cathedral.

The Smith Art Gallery and Museum director Elspeth King said:"Mandy worked like a trojan on the project. She gave her time freely.The whole stones project took Mandy 10 months.

"The stories of James IV ANDV, Mary Queen of Scots and JamesVI are well known, but not the story of James I and the Duke of Albany.

"Mandy has managed to work out the symbolism and meaning in the stones, restoring a lost aspect of Stirling history."


Project manager Mandy Watson with a model of the magic stone

StonemasonsThree generations of the Innes family, sons Adam and Hamish, dad Jimmy junior and grandfather Jimmy senior

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Publication:Stirling Observer (Stirling, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 11, 2018
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