The Fortissat Stone or Covenanters’ Stone

The Covenanters’ Stone stands by the roadside at Shuttlehill and just to the north of Fortissat House in Shotts parish, Lanarkshire.

Covenanters Fortissat StoneFortissat Stone © James Allan and licensed for reuse.

An information board records that:

‘Further along the road from this point lies the Covenanters’ Stone. It is associated with Covenanters from Shotts Parish who fought at the Battle of Bothwell Bridge in 1697 [an error for 1679]. The stone was used as a meeting place by 40 Covenanters’ and the event is remembered in the local mane [i.e., name] of the stone and in nearby Fortissat House.’

What connection, if any, the stone has to the residents of Fortissat in the 1680s is not known.

On 2 July, 1679, after the Bothwell Rising have been defeated, William Meek of Fortissat was released from the Canongate Tolbooth after swearing that he would ‘never rise against his Majesty and will refrain from attending conventicles, upon pain of £1000 Scots, being the sum of the few posessions belonging to me’. In 1683, William Meek of Fortissat conformed when he took the Test.

When the traditional connection between the stone and the Covenanters was first recorded is not clear. The stone is not recorded either in the Statistical Accounts, or on nineteenth-century OS maps, or in the OS name book for the parish.

Street View of Fortissat Stone                Map of area of Fortissat Stone

Map of Fortissat


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

~ by drmarkjardine on January 3, 2015.

4 Responses to “The Fortissat Stone or Covenanters’ Stone”

  1. The local tale was forty sat and forty died on this stone but Fortissat existed prior to covenanting times.
    You will find the meeting place was further north at a place once named the ‘cup and saucer’. This a prominent position to lookout for government troops.

    • Hi Alex, that is a good story. I take it that there may be some connection between Fortissat and the Forty part of the story? The ‘cup and saucer’ part is interesting. Where is it? There was a skirmish between the Covenanters and government forces near Kirk of Shotts prior to the battle of Bothwell Bridge in 1679: The Covenanters ‘resting Thursday forenoon [19 June, 1679], in the afternoon … they were alarmed with news of the enemy approaching in parties towards them, whereupon they sent out parties first of some volunteers, commanded by Robert Dick, and then John Balfour’s troop; next Mr Walter Smith and Andrew Turnbull. These rencoimtering a party of the enemy in the dark of the night, fired upon other, upon which the enemies fled (and, as was said, some of them killed) to the body lying be-east the Shott kirk, strengthened with mosses on every hand, that these parties durst not follow them, tho’ the enemies were in great fear, but they wanting guides, and not knowing the way, returned to the [Covenanter’s] army;’
      (James Russell’s account in Kirkton, Secret History, 462.)

    • The ‘cup and saucer’ is Law’s Castle?

  2. Just been browsing this page while on phone to my mother Mary Barrett (formerly Mary Robertson). She grew up at Fortissat farm, 1km further up Jersay road on the right side. She remembers the ‘cup and Saucer’ location and describes it right where ‘Law’s Castle’ is marked on the map. She describes the land mark has two large stones next to each other visible from the road. One was tall with a hollow that may fill with rainwater, the other flat hence the cup and saucer nickname.

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