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Isobel Fraser reports
"Robbie the Pict claimed the stone is not the real Stone of Destiny anyway"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 23 January, 2001, 16:01 GMT
Roll back the stone plea
Stone of Destiny - Crown copyright
The Stone of Destiny is used in coronation ceremonies
The Scottish Parliament has heard a plea for the Stone of Destiny to be returned to its original home.

The stone, which was brought back to Scotland from London by the last Conservative government, was taken from Scone by King Edward I of England more than 700 years ago.

Now the Scottish Peoples Mission want the stone to be moved from Edinburgh Castle and returned to Scone in Perthshire.

Speaking on behalf of the group, a campaigner called Robbie the Pict addressed the Public Petitions Committee in Edinburgh.

Yet, according to him, the stone in question doers not appear to be the original stone of destiny.

Robbie the Pict
Robbie the Pict: Addressed the meeting
"The real stone of destiny is unlikely to have left Perthsire - it's probably buried in the graveyard. It was a popular place for concealing anything of value."

Nevertheless, he told the meeting: "no one other than the original owner can claim to own stolen property."

He said the Treaty of Edinburgh of 1327 guaranteed the return of the stone that was carried away.

He said that Perth and Kinross Council had agreed to look after the stone.

The 152kg stone, which was the traditional coronation stone of Scottish Kings and Queens, has been housed in the castle since 1996.

But it was originally sited at Scone by the monarch of the Irish Kingdom of Dalriada, Kenneth I, in 850 AD, when he moved the capital of his empire from Ireland to Scotland.

But in 1296, Edward I, known as the "hammer of the Scots", took it to London and kept it in Westminster Abbey.

'Preposterous' charges

Edward saw it as an important symbol of Scottish sovereignty.

The stone was last used in a coronation in Scotland in 1292, when John Balliol was proclaimed king.

Michael Forsyth and Prince Andrew with the stone
The stone was moved to Edinburgh Castle in 1996
After it was taken, it remained in the Westminster Abbey until Christmas Day 1950, when four Scottish students took it from under the coronation throne.

It was found about four months later at Arbroath Abbey in Angus and was taken back down to London.

Winnie Ewing, nationalist MSP for the Highlands and Islands, said it was "preposterous" that the public should have to pay four pounds to see the stone.

But she admitted to holding security concerns if the stone were to be moved north.

Committee convenor and Labour MSP for Dundee East, John McAllion, agreed to contact Perth and Kinross Council before approaching the Scottish Executive.

The decision to return the stone to Scotland in 1996 was announced by former Scottish Secretary Michael Forsyth.

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See also:

29 Apr 99 | The Scottish Parliament
Rolling back the years
06 Apr 99 | The Scottish Parliament
Milestones in Scotland's history
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