The Prophet Peden Stone

The Peden Stane near West Benhar is a mysterious object. Named after the Covenanting field preacher, Alexander ‘Prophet’ Peden (d.1686), it lies in a moss in Shotts parish, Lanarkshire, close to the shire boundary with Linlithgowshire.

The Peden Stane

The earliest reference to it I have discovered so far was in 1866:

‘A large boulder to the S[outh] of Benhar farm-house is known as Peden’s Stone, and to it is now attached an iron slab with the inscription ‘This stone, according to tradition, is one of the places where Peden and others preached to the Covenanters, of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains and in dens and caves of the earth. – Erected by a Committee from proceeds of sermons, 1866.’ (Groome, Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland.)

The main body of the inscription’s text is slightly different from that given above:

‘PEDENS STONE

THIS SPOT

ACCORDING TO

TRADITION , IS ONE OF

THE PLACES WHERE PEDEN

AND OTHERS PREACHED

TO THE COVENANTERS’

The Muir at Benhar  © Richard Webb and licensed for reuse.

The inscription refers to Hebrews 11.38: ‘(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.’

The only evidence for Peden’s preaching at Benhar is local tradition, certainly before 1866. However, the association of the stone with Peden is less firm than the later monument may suggest.

A second stone in the immediate vicinity has strange associations. On General Roy’s mid-eighteenth century map, a nearby farm to the north of the Peden Stone is called ‘Paxstone’, or on the early OS map as ‘Paxtane’. The ‘Pax Stone’/’Packs Stone’ is associated by Guthrie with the wizard Michael Scot, a figure who inhabits similar uncanny terrain to Peden in the popular imagination.

Bing OS Map of Paxtane and Peden Stone

Peden Stane © Stuart McLean and licensed for reuse.

The Peden Stone lies very close to other field preaching sites at Starryshaw, Darmead and Falla Hills.

For other Peden stones of uncertain provenance, see Peden’s Stone in Crawford parish and the Peden Stone at Linthills.

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Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please link to this post on Facebook or other social networks or retweet it, but do not reblog in FULL without the express permission of the author @drmarkjardine

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~ by drmarkjardine on October 25, 2011.

10 Responses to “The Prophet Peden Stone”

  1. […] other Peden stones of uncertain provenance, see the Peden Stane at Benhar and the Peden Stone at […]

  2. […] other Peden stones of uncertain provenance, see the Peden Stane at Benhar and Peden’s Stone in Crawford […]

  3. […] other Peden stones of uncertain provenance, see the Peden Stane at Benhar, Peden’s Stone in Crawford parish and the Peden Stone at […]

  4. […] Starryshaw (25 July, 1680) and Falla Hills (late September, 1680). A fourth site in the area, the Peden Stone, is not associated with Cargill and is of uncertain provenance. The site probably lay close to the […]

  5. Paxstone is a different boulder with another story attached to it Pedens stone was moved in th 80s when the area was open cast coal mined where it stands is close to its original spot but the area was totally changed after mining

  6. […] further preaching is held at the Peden Stone at Benhar in Shotts […]

  7. […] More information on the Peden Stone at Benhar can be found here. […]

  8. […] preached further west on the march boundary at Brounrigg and to the northwest at Blackloch. The Peden Stone at Benhar lies further south on the same boundary and beyond it are the sites of Donald Cargill’s field […]

  9. […] ‘At Lead-loch’, i.e., Leadloch in Cambusnethan parish, Lanarkshire. Leadloch lies right on the Lanarkshire boundary in an area that was frequently used for field preachings. It is close to both Starryshaw and Falla Hill, where Donald Cargill preached, and the Peden Stone at Benhar. […]

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