Midmar Recumbent Stone Circle

Midmar Church is exceptional, in that it combines a church and a Stone Circle within the same site. We are aware that we are following a long line of others who have worshipped before on this site.

Why build a church here?

Midmar Church was built in 1787 under the ministry of Rev John Ogilvie. It was deliberately built close to the circle - we can't be sure why, other than that we know that the Rev Ogilvie was interested in the monument that was a believed to be Druid religious structure. The circle has now been incorporated into the landscaped grounds of the graveyard.

How old is the Stone Circle?

It probably dates from the Bronze Age, and is estimated to be over 4,000 years old and is one of the most well preserved Recumbent Circles in the North East of Scotland.

Why were Stone Circles built?

The exact purpose of Stone Circles is uncertain, but it has become generally accepted that they were to do with astronomy and marking the passage of time and the seasons. The alignment of the stones and the shade and light between them denoted the movement of the sun and the moon and the determination of the Summer and Winter solstices. This knowledge would have been of value to those who needed to know the best time to plant crops.

How big are the stones?

The stone circle has a diameter of around 17.0 metres. The long recumbent stone measures 4.5metres and weighs between 10 and 20 tons - as heavy as 2 buses!

It has some interesting, possibly quite old engravings and some Masonic symbols carved on the top surface. The pointed flankers on either side are 2.5 metres tall, and stand along with another five stones to make up the circle. It is believed that one or (perhaps) two stones may be missing from its west arc. Local lore tells that one of the stones from the circle was re-used in the construction of the church, but there is no evidence for this.

Which stone is the wrong way round?

Historic Scotland told us that the stone nearest the church has at some time been repositioned wrongly with the rough surface facing outwards. The other stones have their smooth sides facing outwards allowing worshippers to stand around the outside of the circle and face the smooth stone surface.

This aerial photograph of the Midmar Kirk Stone Circle has been nominated as one of Scotland's favourite archive images. For more information visit: http://treasuredplaces.org.uk