St Orland's Stone

  • Near Forfar, Angus



St Orland’s Stone is a Pictish cross-slab dating to the AD 700s or early 800s. It’s sometimes referred to as Cossans, but has been known as St Orland’s since at least 1792. We don’t know who St Orland was, or his relationship to the stone.

Unique carvings

On St Orland’s we find the only representation of a boat from this era in Scotland. Apart from log-boats, no remains of a Pictish boat have ever been recovered, so this is an important source of evidence for what Pictish boats looked like.

Aside from the boat, carvings on the stone include:

  • a prominent cross dominating one face
  • Pictish symbols including a crescent, Z-rod, double disc and V-rod
  • men and fabulous beasts

The cross stands on a low ridge overlooking land that was once wet, which may have a bearing on the boat imagery on the back of the stone.

Reminders of the Picts

We don’t know a lot about the Picts, the descendants of Iron-Age tribes who occupied the area north of the Forth and Clyde estuaries in the first millennium AD. They left about 300 carved stones scattered across the country. The earliest of these stones, such as the Brandsbutt Stone, date to about AD 600 and display a variety of enigmatic symbols.

St Orland’s Stone, probably erected in the AD 700s or 800s, belongs to the later group of Pictish stones, which were more overtly Christian. It’s one of a handful of free-standing cross slabs erected by the Picts, most of which only survive as fragments.

Opening times

Direct access to St Orland's Stone is currently not possible due to conservation works.

The stone can be viewed from a safe distance.

Historic Scotland


Download our visitor app

Discover more on the go – the Historic Scotland app lets you find out about Scotland’s most iconic places wherever you are.

Plan your visit

More than 20 of our sites are now open. Please book your tickets in advance.

Become a member

Join Historic Scotland to visit our properties free of charge for a full year and support our work at the same time.

Hire a site for filming

Use one of our fantastic locations on your next shoot for an awe-inspiring backdrop to your work.

Learning visits

Our 300+ historic places serve as creative inspiration for all sorts of learning activities – and for learners of all ages.

Search our events

See the past brought to life by the imaginative year-round programme of events at our properties.