The Lost Martyr’s Stone in the Forest of Ae

Is it still there? Or has it disappeared? In Kirkmichael parish, Dumfriesshire, the OS Six-inch First Edition Maps of Scotland (1854-58) marks a large stone as ‘Gibb’s Corse (Martyr’s Stone)’.

According to the OS Name Book of 1857:

‘This stone is said to commemorate the death of a martyr named Gilbert who was killed on this spot at the time of the persecution.’

If it is, or was, a martyr’s stone that is connected in some way to the Killing Times of 1685, then it refers a death which was not recorded by either the historical sources, or published in any collection of traditions.

The location of the stone, if it is still there, lies close to an intersection of forest tracks, one of which is marked as a cycleway. Recently, much of the area was clear cut to expose the landscape for the first time in decades.

Map of Approximate location of Gibb’s Corse

Aerial View of approx location of Gibb’s Corse

Forest of Ae  © Iain Thompson and licensed for reuse.

In 1891, Thompson, who appears to have specific information about the stone, mentioned Gibb’s Corse in an article:

‘In Kirkmichael parish, on the high grounds that rise up on the west of Glenkilt Burn to the height of eleven hundred feet, and form a table land, the Ordnance Map has marked “Gibb’s corse, Martyr’s stone.” The stone is of some size, and makes one wonder how it got there. It is easily come upon in the moor. Who Gibb was, or how he came to be reckoned a martyr, I have not met any one able to tell me.’ (Thompson in Transactions and Journal of Proceedings of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History & Antiquarian Society, 1891 Vol.7, 13.)

From Thompson’s description, it sounds like a substantial boulder which would be ‘easily come upon’ if it sat in a moorland setting, rather than pine forest.

According to the Canmore database:

‘(NY 0028 9325) Gibb’s Corse (NR)
(Martyr’s Stone).
OS 6″ map, (1957) [1857?]

This stone could not be found in dense afforestation nor was it located prior to forestry ploughing (information from Head Forester, Forest of Ae, Ae)
Visited by OS (T R G) 1 September 1977.’

The NLS maps website gives the approximate location of Gibb’s Corse as:
300273, 593240
-3.56928, 55.22327

Is it still there? Let me know!

Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved.

~ by drmarkjardine on May 10, 2012.

4 Responses to “The Lost Martyr’s Stone in the Forest of Ae”

  1. […] For other “martyrs” only recorded in tradition, see John Dempster, the Black Clauchrie, Killoup Wood and Half Merk Covenanters, and the Gibb’s Corse martyr. […]

  2. […] Simpson’s tradition of Gracie, Allan’s Cairn would be a Covenanting site similar to Gibb’s Corse, which the OS Name Book stated was ‘said to commemorate the death of a martyr named Gilbert who […]

  3. […] 12. ‘——-’ Gilbert of Gibb’s Corse in the Ae Forest. […]

  4. […] Another traditional site in the parish is Gibb’s Corse. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.