THE STONE OF DESTINY
Located in Westminster Abbey in London, England is a most unusual chair.
It is built of solid oak planks which extend from the seat up the high
back and up the sides to steeply sloping arms. The interior is plain but
the outside back and sides are carved into deep panels. The two back corners
extend above the arms into pole handles, while the back itself is level
first from the two handles inward but then rises toward a gable peak in
the center. The paneled sides extend below the seat to provide a base while
the whole assembly rests on four cast iron lion feet. Beneath the seat
is a shelf. and on the shelf, fit tightly up against the seat, is a very
All the kings and queens of England since the days of Edward I, (1272
to 1307), have been crowned sitting in that chair and on that Stone.
The chair was built by Edward I to hold the Stone and to provide a proper
seat for the coronation. The chair shows the wear of nearly 700 years;
the planks and panels are chipped and cracked; the interior once had cloth
glued to its lower section; the back is scarred with the initials and marks
of royal and nonroyal graffiti.
The Stone is composed of a coarse-grained sandstone; it might have come
from many places around the earth. It is fitted at each end with iron staples
and rings to carry it. It is believed that Edward I attached the staples
Edward may have had reason to attach the rings. After his 1296 campaign
against the rebellious Scots he brought back to England certain Scottish
charters which he thought were better in his own keeping. He also brought
the Holy Rood from Edinburgh, the most sacred relic in Scotland, placed
there by Saint Margaret. And he brought the Stone.
The Stone had been located in the famous abbey at Scone, Scotland, a
village on the north bank of the River Tay in Perthshire, the traditional
seat of Scottish kingsAE,HOS.
Edward's interest in the Stone was not idle. In Gaelic it was called
Fail, the Stone of Destiny. By tradition the person who was crowned
sitting on the Stone had right of kingship ordained by God. By removing
the Stone from Scotland, Edward removed that right. He also ensured that
the right would henceforth vest in English, and not in Scottish kings.
The last Scottish king to be crowned on the Stone was Alexander III
in 1249. All the kings of Scotland back to Kenneth MacAlpin in 843 had
been crowned sitting on that Stone. In those days MacAlpin had located
the seat of Scottish kingship in Dunkeld, farther up the River Tay, to
which he carried the Stone and other holy relics from the island of Iona,
home of the famous Irish priest, St. Columba. The seat of Scottish kingship,
together with the Stone, was later moved to Scone.
Kenneth MacAlpin figures prominently in Scottish history. He was the
first king to rule all of Scotland. Prior to his reign Scotland was divided
between the Picts and the Irish immigrants of DalRiada. The Picts were
Keltic people who had migrated to the British Isles from the European continent
around 600 BC, spreading across England into Wales, west into Ireland,
and north into Scotland. Their language was Gaelic; they brought with them
the knowledge of iron. About 300 years later another wave of Keltic people
moved into England, pushing the Gaels out of the south and east into Ireland
and into the north parts of Scotland. The new wave may have inhabited areas
as far north as Loch Ness and the Grampian Mts. They were the Cambrian/Kymry
who spoke Welsh/BrythonicKKES,ES.
The people of DalRiada were Irish Gaels who had moved from Antrim, east
of the River Bann in extreme northeastern Ireland, across the north channel
of the Irish Sea, to settle in Argyll near the Scottish islands of Islay
and Jura. For about 100 years the name DalRiada, after one of the royal
houses of Ireland, was applied to the dynastic territories in both Ireland
and Scotland. This movement took place sometime in the latter part of the
fifth century under Fergus Mor Mac Erc. The date is sometimes given as
464, sometimes as 501; it is not known with certainty. The Scottish DalRiada
remained subject to the rule of the Irish DalRiada until about 575, when,
through the influence of St. Columba, a member of the royal family, the
Scottish DalRiada became an independent kingdom under King Aidan.
Kenneth MacAlpin was descended from Fergus Mac Erc and Aidan. They,
in turn, were descended from Cairbre Riada who had founded the dynasty
in Ireland some ten generations before. Cairbre Riada was the son of the
Irish High-King Conaire, son of Mug Lama. The genealogy in the Irish king
lists is carried back another five generations to another Conaire Mor,
the famous "Peace King," and again another five generations, around the
time of Jesus, to a certain Dedad, from whom all branches of the Irish
royal stock were descended. They were known as the Clanna Dedaid. They
were of first importance in Irish traditional history, but in the historical
period their power had waned. In Scotland down to the twelfth century the
royal family was described as the "seed of Conair MorES."
The Scottish DalRiada had gradually taken possession of Pict lands,
with major conquests by Aidan, until MacAlpin finally defeated the last
Pictish king and established the kingdom of Scotland which has come down
to modern times. Before his time the Stone had been used at Iona by the
kings of Scottish DalRiada beginning with Aidan. Prior to Aidan the Stone
had been in Ireland where all Irish High-Kings were anointed and crowned
sitting on the Stone. It was brought to Iona by St Columba. Its previous
location in Ireland is not known, although tradition places it at Tara,
ancient home of the High-Kings of IrelandKKES.
The Scot name did not originally belong to Scotland; it belonged to
Ireland. The Romans knew the inhabitants of Ireland as the Scoti. The Gaelic
native name was Cruithni; it applied to all the Gaelic people, including
the Picts of Scotland. From a phonetic change in Gaelic Keltic to Welsh
Keltic words beginning with "C" (K) in Gaelic were pronounced with a "P"
in Welsh. Thus cenn became penn. Cruithni would then become
With a further change of "th" to "t" this became Prytni. With a still further
metathesis of the "ni" to "in" this became Prytin, and thus our word Britain.
The Romans called all the inhabitants of Britain
Welsh and Picts. Because the Cruithni and Brittani names are phonetically
connected scholars surmise that the application of Brittani to all the
inhabitants of Britain, the Welsh as well as the Picts, was a misapplication
through ignorance back in Rome for the people of the British IslesES.
The name has stuck to this day.
Curiously the Gaelic people had traditions that their Cruithni forebears
came originally from Thrace, the location of the Thraco-Kimmerians, and
one track of the Iberi migrations. They first moved to France, where they
founded Poitiers, and later to Ireland. This was soon after the invasion
of the Gaedil, the sons of Mil, while Eremon, leader of the invasion, was
still reigning in Ireland. According to the traditions Gub and his son
Cathluan, rulers of the Cruithni, acquired great power but Eremon would
not allow them to remain in Ireland. They were forced to move to Alba,
(the ancient name for Scotland), where they became the Picts. Both Irish
and Pictish Chronicles and Kings Lists which have come down to us contain
common names for their early rulers, to support the oral traditionsES,KKES,IKHK.
However, we do not know the times of this common rulership, whether prior
to migration to the British Isles, during the first settlement in Ireland,
or after the establishment of dynastic rule.
Other traditions say the Cruithni came from Scythia, and many people
believe the name Scoti is merely a modified form of ScythiES.
The geographical proximity of Scythia to Thrace, confusion among ancient
accounts on the two regions, the track of the Iberians near Meotis and
the Crimea, and the presence of the Kimmerians in Asia Minor and in the
Crimea -- all lend support to these two versions of the Gaelic folk traditions.
Thus we see that Ireland has a tradition of two different invasions from
the descendants of the Eberi/Ibri, one through the Iberians of Spain and
the sons of Mil, and another through the Cruithni who came through France
from Thrace or Scythia.
It is interesting that the traditions show the Cruithni (Gaelic) Kelts
arriving within a few years after the arrival of the Eberian elements from
Archeology shows that Keltic people entered the British Isles along
the eastern coast of Scotland as well as England. The style of ancient
stone forts on the east coast is somewhat different from those on the west
coast, suggesting two different segments of people. Other archeological
evidence suggests that some of the ancient Kelts may have moved from Ireland
to Scotland, prior to Roman times; this movement would be the basis for
the folk traditions of Scottish Cruithni coming from IrelandES.
The movement of people is complex and difficult to trace in the archeological
record. Available evidence would not deny the folk traditions.
Some folk traditions are more fanciful. In another tradition Gathelus
Gael, a remote ancestor, married Scota, daughter of a Pharaoh, and came
to Ireland from the Mediterranean via Spain. The Gael name came from Gathelus
while the Scoti name came from Scota. Gathelus brought the Stone of Destiny
with him and placed it at Tara where it remained until removed by St ColumbaHOSA.
It is also known as Jacob's Pillar Stone. In that version of the tradition
it was the stone on which Jacob rested his head when he saw the vision
of angels descending and ascending a ladder to heaven, Gen 28. When he
awoke in the morning he took the stone and set it up as a pillar and memorial.
He poured oil on it and called that place Bethel, the house of God. According
to this tradition Baruch, a disciple of Jeremiah the prophet, rescued the
Stone from Babylonian control and brought it to Ireland along with Tea-Tephi,
the daughter of Zedekiah, last king of Jerusalem. Tea-Tephi married into
the Irish royal line to carry the seed of Abraham to all the kings of Ireland,
Scotland and England.
The tradition of Goedhal Glas, who was saved from the serpent's bite
by Moses, has parallels. His grandson Niul married Scota, a daughter of
the Pharaoh. Their descendants became the Scoti of IrelandSIR.
The Stone is not mentioned in this form of the tradition.
These traditions cannot all be true; perhaps none of them are.
The Anglo-Saxon invaders of Britain had a tradition of coronating their
kings on a stone. These ceremonies were held at Winchester and Kingston-on-the-Thames.
The name Kingston means King's Stone. King Egfrith was anointed with oil
on the Anglo-Saxon stone at Kingston in 785AE. During these
ceremonies authority for the anointing was taken from the Old Testament,
I Kings 1:39-40:
Since the Anglo-Saxons also used a stone for their coronations, the
Stone of Destiny is not unique, and raises doubt as to its authenticity.
Sacred stones are common many places among many people. Furthermore, a
stone still exists at Tara, which is thought by scholars to be the traditional
one. It now rests in a recumbent position and is considerably larger than
the Stone in Westminster Abbey. However, no one is sure the Tara stone
is the one used for coronation purposes by ancient Irish kings; it may
have served a different purpose. If the Tara stone is the traditional one
it would mean that the Stone of Destiny is any old stone dug out of the
ground by some forgotten person and made into the coronation stone. There
is no hard evidence that would permit us to determine the authenticity
one way or the other.
Still, the tradition is very strong. The Stone of Destiny may be an
ordinary stone but Edward I thought it was divinely endowed. So did all
kings and queens of England since that time, and so did the kings of Scotland
back to Aidan. If St Columba brought it from Ireland he must also have
given it similar solemn regard. Prince Charles of England is directly descended
from the Scottish kings through the Stewarts, and since the Scottish kings
were directly descended from the earliest Irish high-kings, going back
to the time of Jesus, Charles carries the royal line of kingship. Edward
I did not deprive the Scots of the blood lineage; he merely transferred
the right of kingship as had St. Columba 700 years before. Edward may have
had more secular political purposes in mind but St. Columba was motivated
by his sense of destiny.
Who was St Columba? Why did he play such an important role? In order
to more properly answer these questions we should review the tradition
of high-kingship in Ireland. St. Columba was a member of the royal family;
he carried impressive credentials.
From previous discussion we know the Hebrew tribes were a loose confederation
who would periodically gather to conduct common business, and who would
call upon one individual, a judge, to handle their affairs during times
of crisis. Similar loose confederations of Keltic tribes were established
by the Kelts of Asia Minor, of France, and of Ireland. During times of
crisis they also would call upon one of their tribal chiefs, or kings,
to lead them. If he held this position through extended periods he became
a high-king, or a king above the tribal kings. In Ireland in later times
this developed into three different strata: the tribal chiefs or kings,
a king of a confederation of tribes, and a king of all confederations,
the high-king. This position was based on his royal credentials of aristocratic
descent from earlier kingly lines. Eventually this evolved into actual
kingship, where all tribal chiefs became subject to him. They did not act
on matters of import without his approval. They had standing obligations
to supply the high-king with men of arms, as well as other material support.
The high-king became the practical ruler of Ireland, with full power and
It is believed that this evolution did not become complete until the
beginning of the fifth century when a member of the Irish royal line, Niall
Niogiallach, (Niall of the Nine Hostages), consolidated power into his
hands from the province of ConnaughtKKES,IKHK. However, this
would not deny the practice of tribal confederations, going back to earliest
Keltic times, nor the selection of a high-king above the tribal chieftains.
The tradition of a high-king in remote times is very strong but the actual
record is lost to historical memory.
The information we have on St. Columba is chiefly from St. Adamnan,
an Irish ecclesiastic who was descended from a cousin of St. Columba, and
who entered the monastery at Iona to become its abbot in 679. His biography
on St. Columba contains much valuable information. According to Adamnan,
Columba was born Dec. 7, 521 at Gartan, a village in the wilds of Donegal.
At baptism he received the name Crimthann, (A Fox), but while still a child
the name Columba, (A Dove), was given to him because of the simplicity
of his character. Later in life he was known as Columcille, (Dove of the
He was born into the race of the O'Donnells, and through each of his
parents, could claim royal blood. His father was the great grandson of
Niall of the Nine Hostages, while his mother was descended from the King
of Leinster. By right of birth he might himself have become high king of
Ireland, but he chose the monastic life instead. This royal blood explains
his great power among the nobility of Ireland and the DalRiada of Scotland.
He founded numerous monasteries in Ireland and Scotland, ruins of which
exist to this day.
While his character may have been simple it also carried righteous indignation.
Columba had two grievances against Diarmad, the High-King at that time.
In the first Columba wished to make a copy of a codex of the Psalms which
had been brought back to Ireland from Rome by another priest, but he was
refused permission. Not so easily deterred, he stole into the church at
night to make the copy but was discovered in the act. The abbot demanded
that he give up his copy but Columba refused. The decision was referred
to Diarmad who decided against Columba.
The other grievance was due to his protection of a royal relative who
had killed someone at the court of the High-King at Tara. The man was dragged
from his presence and put to death by orders of the King. Stung into indignation
by the double affront he appealed to his kinsmen, the O'Donnells, and roused
them to battle. The result was some three thousand men killed. Because
of this act he was excommunicated. However, upon appeal, the excommunication
was annulled on the condition that he forever leave Ireland.
He chose to become a missionary to the pagan Picts of Scotland and established himself on the island of Iona just off the Scottish coast. Rights to the island were given to him by his kinsman Conall, King of the Scottish DalRiada, and by Brude, king of the Picts, who also held interest in the island. There he built a monastery which became his base of operations for the rest of his life. He was instrumental in converting many Picts to Christianity, and is credited with creating the conditions which permitted Kenneth MacAlpin to complete conquest of Scotland 300 years later.
Although he occasionally returned to Ireland to conduct important business he could not remain there for any length of time.
From the stories we get some insight into his character. He was not
to be put aside for political reasons. The codex of the Psalms was important,
not only to himself, but also to other religionists. Refusal to copy it
probably was based on royal interests and religious power. He would not
be guided by such political interests. When he gave refuge to an accused
man he expected it to be honored. But when he would not accept the decisions
of the King he brought trouble and death. He was a powerful person but
his obstinate temper brought him into personal danger.
What would motivate St. Columba to take the Stone from Ireland? Perhaps
he felt it was not given proper respect by the Irish royalty. The fact
that he could remove it suggests they no longer considered it important.
He was a devout religionist and he may have been moved to carry his view
of destiny to those people he felt should inherit that right. For him the
Stone carried a holy respect of great antiquity. Whatever its source, he
must have regarded it as a symbol of divine authority. Furthermore, his
contest with Diarmad, for him, was a righteous cause, but it led him into
disrespect for the King. This may have created an intent to remove that
divine authority from a line of royalty he felt were callous, disrespectful
of God, and hence undeserving.
The notion of a divine coronation stone is part and parcel of the social
practice of kingship among the Keltic people. The one does not have meaning
without the other. Therefore, the origins of Destiny Stones must go back
to the origin of kingship. For the Israelite tribes this was the anointing
of Saul by Samuel. For the Keltic tribes this could have been the establishment
of kingship among confederated tribes. Or it might be the transference
of kingship from the infiltration of Eberi people into Keltic population.
But the removal of the northern ten tribes, and their infiltration into
other groups, did not carry kingship. The creation of an aristocracy throughout
Europe was due to noble blood, not magical stones. The kingship remained
in Palestine where it was assumed by the Jews until the Babylonian conquest.
Thus we can better appreciate why the traditions of the Stone show it coming
from Palestine via Baruch or Gathelus. It carried no authentic respect
if it was not the stone anointed by Jacob and used in Israelite kingship.
These factors suggest that the tradition of the coronation stone is
not actual history. Christian use of native traditions to convert the pagan
world probably created the authority of Jacob's Pillar Stone.
If other tribes felt the need for divine approval of their kings, and
if they did not possess the authentic stone, they might very well have
taken another stone, anointed it, asked God's blessing on it, and used
it for their coronation ceremonies. Likewise with the Stone of Destiny.
It does not matter that the Stone now sitting in Westminster Abbey is the
actual stone anointed by Jacob. It carries the weight of the generations
and influenced the minds, not only of the royal family, but of whole realms
of people. In our world today the royalty has lost its power and its destiny
function. The decisions and policies of the nations have bypassed those
traditional routes. The world is now under renovation. The coronation stone,
and the royal lines no longer have meaning.
The importance of the Stone is the tale it tells of belief that shaped
the thoughts, minds, and policies of the generations down to the present
day. It served as a symbol for their view of destiny. This view was vividly
expressed in the national purpose of England from the time of Edward I,
her conquest of many nations of the world, and her influence on the spread
of Christianity to every corner of the globe. The European nations settled
in Africa, completely absorbed both North and South America, as well as
Australia and New Zealand. Much of this contribution came out of England
and her sense of divine destiny.
We should not neglect the fact that the Stone is a pagan symbol grafted
onto Christianity. It is a lingering reminder of our pagan past, but it
served God's purpose in his influence of the minds of the generations.
The Stone shows how deeply the people of Ireland, Scotland, and England,
from the highest royalty to the lowliest common man, believed they were
descended from Hebrew tribes and that they were fulfilling the role of
destiny as the children of Abraham. The Stone of Destiny symbolized that
Several names and linguistic phenomena struck my attention in study
of Keltic evidence in the British Isles.
1) The personal name Niall, sometimes spelled Niel, Neil, and Niull,
was a strong Irish surname. The name occurs repeatedly in a line of Irish
kings, including Niall Noigiallach, Niall of the Nine Hostages. It is still
found as a surname in France, sometimes also spelled Neal. The presence
in both Keltic France and Keltic Ireland suggest that its origins are very
old, dating back to centuries BC. Without question, it is regarded as a
But it is also a legitimate Hebrew name. It is found as a place name
in Joshua 19:27. Modern versions write it as Neiel. Literally it
means "Moved by God5272."
2) The personal name Kenneth is also thought to be of Keltic origin.
It is found as Kinath in the Latin versions of the DalRiada kings list.
In the Irish lists this name appears as Conadh, and in the Scottish lists
as ConchadKKES. The name Kenath3675 is also a legitimate
Hebrew name; it means "colleague" or "companion." It is used throughout
the book of Ezra, 4:7, 5:3, and so on. It comes from the root kanah,
"to address by an additional name," "to give a flattering title," or "to
3) Many Irish and Scotch families are descended from royal Irish stock.
Among the many Irish names are those beginning with "O." This form comes
from the Keltic "Ui" or "Ua," meaning "son" or "descendant." Ui Neill became
O'Neill. O'Donnell, O'Connor, O'Reilly, O'Rourke, O'Flaherty, O'Dowd, O'Kevan,
O'Hyne, O'Shaughnessy, and O'Clery are examples of these names.
The "Mac" form in Scotland and the "Mc" in Ireland meant "son." MacDermott
and MacDonough are examples. Loeguire mac Neill, died 463, was Loeguire
son of Neill. This became a surname, MacNeill, or McNeill, as well as O'Neill.
When reading the old Irish lists orthography often buries the form of
the name from modern eyes. Lenition of "b" and "m" became "v." Domnall
is spelled Douenall in many old texts, and later Donall and Donald. Eoghann
became Hogan. Other illustrations are:
mac Diarmait (Diarmad) became MacDermott
And so on.
These names are all found in the genealogies of the Irish kings, descended
from Niall of the Nine Hostages.
4) Earlier we saw that the word clan was used by the Etruscans
for "son." This means a descendent. The word clann or clan
is used in both Ireland and Scotland for the tribal groupings descended
from one ancestral figure: a "family," "stock" or "race." The dictionaries
give the definition as a number of persons claiming descent from a common
ancestor, or associated together, a tribe. This shows again that some Etruscan
words may derive from Indo-European sources, or that the Keltic word may
have been borrowed from the Etruscans. The Oxford English Dictionary states
that the word is not originally Keltic; according to linguists the word
is from the Latin planta = "sprout," "shoot," or "slip," modern
English plant. With a Gaelic sound shift from "p" to "c" this became
5) Furious debate has raged around the name "Britain." In Hebrew brit
means "covenant." Many persons have claimed that the Britanni were
the covenanted ones. Scholars see the derivation of the name from the Cruithni
and the Prytni. The confusion by the Romans on application of the names
has given rise to speculation that there were actually two different names
with phonetic relationship, the Cruitni and the Brittani, with the latter
deriving from the Hebrew word. However, this is an attempt to find a religious
connection when the linguistic derivation is relatively simple.
6) St. Columba may have been keenly aware of his Hebrew affiliations.
The island of Iona, his home for many years and final resting place, is
known to us by its adjectival form, and because of a scribal mistake. In
the oldest manuscripts it is given as Ioua Insula, where Insula
is the Latin word for "Island," and Ioua is the adjective. In later manuscripts
the "u" was mistaken for an "n," making it Iona. However this "mistake"
may have been influenced by the respect accorded St. Columba by the scribes.
in Hebrew3123 means "Dove," Columba's name in Gaelic.
The name is intriguing on other grounds. The adjective Ioua is
from the simple "I," pronounced "ee." In manuscripts available to us it
shows as many different spellings:
Irish: hIe, Eo, Ia, I.
In the old orthography "Y" is pronounced "ee." The origin is simple.
The Hebrew word for island is I = "ee." Columba, being an erudite scholar
of Hebrew, probably used the Hebrew word for island.
ADDENDUM TO THE STONE OF DESTINY
In The Chronicles of Scotland, Hector Boece, (translated into Scottish by John Bellenden, 1531) tells us -- Gathelus, the ancestor of the Scots who came to Egypt when "in this tyme rang [reigned] in Egypt Pharo ye scurge of ye pepill of Israel" was given Scota to wife (Scota was the daughter of a Pharaoh). "Lang tyme he landit in ane part of Spayne callit Lusitan" (later called Portugal). After this, he built the city of Brigance and "callit his subdittis [subjects] Scottis in honour and affeccioun of his wyiff." With peace, Gathelus "sittand in his chayr of merbel within his citie."
In 843 A.D., Kenneth Mac Alpin was crowned on the Stone Lia Fail as the first King of the United Kingdom of the Picts and the Scots. One of his first acts as King was to found a church at Scone (near Perth, Scotland) because it was there that he had gained his principal victory over the Picts.
The Stone may have been used in the coronation ceremonies of the Irish Kingdom of Dalriada from roughly 400 AD until 850 AD, when Kenneth I, the 36th King of Dalriada, moved his capital of his expanding empire from Ireland to Scone (pronounced "scoon") in what is now Perthshire, Scotland. The Stone was moved several times after that, and used on the remote, western island of Iona, then in Dunadd, in Dunstaffnage and finally in Scone again for the installation of Dalriadic monarchs.
King Kenneth II (d.995 A.D.) had the Stone placed on a wooden pedestal in front of the high altar of the Abbey of Scone.... The ancient Abbey of Scone was destroyed in 1559 A.D. at the time of the Reformation. Today... on Moot Hill stands a stone chapel, marking the place where the Stone of Destiny had rested and where the kings of Scotland presided over their Parliaments until Edward I of England removed the Stone to Westminster Abbey in 1296 A.D.
The Stone was last used in a coronation in Scotland in 1292, when John Balliol was proclaimed King. Four years later, in 1296, the English monarch, Edward I, infamous as the "hammer of the Scots," and nemesis of Scottish national hero William Wallace, invaded Scotland. Among the booty that Edward's marauding army removed was the legendary Stone, which the English king apparently regarded as an important symbol of Scottish sovereignty. The present Coronation Throne was made to house the stone in 1301.
When London was being bombed by German Luftwaffe during World War II, contingency safety plans were written up to protect the Stone. Only until the 1950's was it revealed that the then Prime Minister of Canada was the only person outside a group numbering no more than 10 men, caretakers of the Relics at Westminister Abbey who knew where the Stone was hid. No similar plans had been made to secret away the Crown Jewels.
On Christmas eve, 1950, four young Scottish patriots named Ian Hamilton, Alan Stewart, Gavin Vernon and Kay Matheson, stole the Stone of Destiny from beneath the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey. In the process they dropped the 300 pound stone and broke it. About four months later the rock was recovered from the Arbroath Abbey in Scotland, where it had been deposited by the kidnappers, and returned to the Westminster Abbey.
According to the treaty of Northampton of 1328, peace was restored between the warring neighbors of England and Scotland, and King Edward III of England promised to return the Stone to its rightful owners forthwith. But somehow the English never got around to fulfilling their end of the bargain, and the Stone of Destiny remained in London until British Prime Minister John Major, with the approval of Her Majesty the Queen, arranged for it to be returned to Scotland on November 15, 1996. It is now in Edinburgh Castle, where the "Stone of Scone" has joined other Scottish royal regalia -- crown, scepter, sword and jewels -- in a closely-guarded museum.
Much emotion attaches to the Stone. The Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey, who have acted as the "guardian" of the Stone of Scone for 700 years, accepted with apparent reluctance the Queen's decision to allow it to be returned to Scotland.
Many rumors persist that the stone stolen from Westminster Abbey is not the same as the one later returned, but this is highly doubtful. Only the thieves would know for sure: and they aren't talking. Doubts about the pedigree of the Stone are unlikely to be resolved. But few would debate the symbolic significance of restoring what is at least presumed to be the original Stone of Destiny to Scotland. Most Scots are pleased, if somewhat bemused by this unexpected turn of events, although some express reservations about the legal niceties surrounding the return of the pilfered artifact. Technically, under British law the Crown still "owns" the Stone -- the assumption apparently being that, after seven centuries, possession is ten tenths of the law. However, Her Majesty has decided to lend it permanently to her Scottish subjects, on the understanding that it can be temporarily taken back to London, whenever it might be required for future coronations.
The last time the Stone was used was in 1952 at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Whomever this hefty rock really belongs to, Her Majesty's Canadian subjects hope that the Stone of Destiny -- whether it be the fabled original or a reasonable facsimile thereof -- will not be needed again for official duty any time soon.
The Stone, weighing over 300 pounds, is rectangular being about 26" in length; 16" in width; and, 10.5" in depth. Across its surface runs a crack and some chisel-marks are still visible on one or two sides. There are two large iron rings (or some rust resistant alloy), one at each end of the Stone which hang loosely from eyes, made of similar metal let into the Stone.
Regarding the Stone, Professor Odlum, a geologist at Ontario University, was intrigued with the idea that perhaps its source could be found in Palestine, as suggested by the ancient records of Ireland. Odlum discovered a stratum of sandstone near the Red Sea at Bethel in Palestine geologically the same as the Coronation Stone. British Royal genealogy traces its heritage to all the Royal households throughout Europe from the Spanish Monarchy to the last Royals of Russia and the Danes, Swedes and nearly every monarch in between.
One of the most significant facts about the Coronation Stone is that no similar rock formation exists in the British Isles. Professor Totten -- Science, Yale University, after making a thorough examination of the Stone made the following statement: "The analysis of the Stone shows that there are absolutely no quarries in Scone or Iona where-from a block so constituted could possibly have come, nor yet from Tara." The sandstone in Scotland and Ireland is dissimilar to the Stone.