Pictish stone to be relocated in Kinellar

AN ancient Pictish symbol stone, located at Kinellar Parish Church, will become more accessible to members of the public after the Garioch Area Committee agreed unanimously to grant listed building consent for its relocation.

The historic stone is currently located in the Church porch, after it was moved to prevent weather erosion. However, since it was moved Kinellar Church has been converted to a house, and although access was available to the stone, relocating to it the boundary wall of the Churchyard would enable it to be seen much more easily.

The stone was re-discovered in 1801 when the existing Church was built on the site of an older Church. It formed part of the foundations of the old Church, and was then moved several times, and eventually was built into the wall of the Churchyard. It was moved for a final time to prevent continued erosion by weather and ended in the Church porch built into the panelling.

The stone will now be moved to the western boundary wall close to the existing gate, with the carved face of the stone facing into the Churchyard.

The present occupiers of the converted Church have obtained specialist advice from conservation experts Graciela Ainsworth Sculpture Conservation. The ancient stone will be removed, cleared of any mortar attached to it, then injected with laminations to protect any fragile areas. The laminations can then be capped and filled to match the rest of the stone exactly.

The exact procedure for re-siting the stone will only become known when it is removed from its current location and the precise dimensions revealed. It is hoped that the lower stone course in the boundary wall can be left as is an act as the foundation for the Pictish stone. Once it is in place then the boundary wall would be rebuilt and the capstone replaced.

The Council’s Planning Department will ensure that this work is carried out by a specialist conservation practitioner to ensure that the work has a “minimal effect on the historic fabric of the wall around the stone”.

Following the removal of the symbol stone a condition of the permission will require a detailed method statement to be provided prior to the relocation of the stone.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Planning aand Environmental Service considered that the proposal “would not have an adverse impact on the character, integrity and setting of the listed building, and is acceptable in all respects”. The committee agreed unanimously to grant Listed Building Consent to allow the work to be carried out.