the Gowk Stane, Auchencorth (photograph)


Peebles, United Kingdom

  • Artist

Artist's Description

Gowk Stane, Auchencorth.
. The Gowkstane, Auchencorth, Penicuik.—This monolith stands on the
highest point of a nearly level plateau which swells up~conspicuously
out of the pasture-lands 700 yards to the east of the farm-house of Auchencorth. It is a tall Hock of micaceous sandstone, grey and weathered. Its greatest height is 6 feet 4 inches. Its base is set with
its longer side trending N.N.E. and S.S.W., and its girth on the ground
is nearly 9 feet. . On its narrower S.E. face (fig. 15) are two long and
deep grooves, worn back into the shelf-like part near the top. The uppermost portion of this side is smooth and bears an inscription in modern Roman capitals, which is, to a large extent, illegible, but seems to read :—
. . . . . . RK . . . .
TI . . . . DUM . . .
. . X . . . BOUNTI .
The three lines of lettering are placed between two horizontal headings, which are absent at the ends, through the edges of the stone being fractured. The letters are cut fairly deep and with care ; they are about 1J inches in height, and the whole inscription occupies a panel measuring 18 by 9 inches.
(The Author) was led to the discovery of this Stone purely through my interest in the philology of its nomenclature. Having ascertained that in Aberdeenshire there are no fewer that seventeen’ farm-lands in which the affix corth occurs, and that on at any rate eleven of these there still
remained a Standing Stone marking the site as the Field of the Pillar (Achadh-na-Choirthe),1 I applied to the tenant of this farm in Penicuik
for information. There being no stone shown on even the 25-inch scale
O.M., it was the more gratifying to learn from his reply that there was
this Goukstane to corroborate my theory.

(source: “Cairns and Standing Stones in Midlothian and Fife”)

A GOWK is a cuckoo. Fowk say gin ye hear a gowk, ye’ll live for anither year. If ye’re nae wiselike, ye cud be cried a daft gowk.
The Gowk
I met a gowk frae Penicuik
Wha thocht he was a bird
The wey he flaffed and cried ‘Cuckoo’
He lookit fair absurd.
Whit wey he thinks he is a bird
I haena got a clue
But tho he’s no a feathered gowk
There’s nae dout he’s cuckoo.
(source: Scottish Arts Council/Arts in Scotland/Scottish Word of the Month)

Penicuik = Cymric pen-y-côg, ` hill of the cuckoo ’
(source: Gen UK)

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