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Pictures from the Heritage Archives

When watching the national thanksgiving ceremony for our new King and Queen which took place in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh on Wednesday 5/7/2023, we could not help but notice the prominent place given to the ‘Stone of Destiny’ or in the Celtic, Lia Fail ‘ the speaking stone’, or the stone which would proclaim the chosen King. Also known as the Stone of Scone (pronounced Skoon).

Legend has it that this red sandstone block originated in Iran, and in the hands of war like kings journeyed through Egypt to Spain and then turned up in Ireland before coming over into Scotland where it became the place of enthronement of all the Scottish Kings from medieval times. Edward the 1st of England, known as ‘The Hammer of the Scots’ took the stone as spoils of war and placed it in Westminster Abby in 1296.

In 1950 there was a rise in Scottish nationalism and a group of four students determined that the time had come to return this ancient symbol of Scotland’s monarchy to its homeland. So it was on Christmas day 1950 that the stone was removed from Westminster Abbey. The small Fords they were using could not cope with the weight of the stone and the major part of the journey was made in an Armstrong Siddeley Whitley car.

In 2008 a film was made for national cinema. Filming was to be done mainly in Scotland and a black 1950s Whitley car was required. The Armstrong Siddeley Owners Club was approached and the search began. The correct model was found and happily the owner was willing for it to be used, but alas it was Langham Grey in colour. Ever helpful he went the extra mile and had the car resprayed the required black.

We would love to tell you more but that would spoil the film. Based on the true event it has its moments and is ‘of the period’. A fun watch.


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