28 Aug 2012

The Pagan Sites of Europe Remembered (19): The Stone of Mannan, Clackmannan, Scotland

Mannan is an ancient Celtic or pre-Celtic sea god. He is known by the names Manannan mac Lir in Ireland and Manawydan fab Llyr in Wales. The Isle of Mann is also named after him. His name is found in the old Scottish county town of Clackmannan, which means "The Stone of Mannan." The name comes from an ancient whinstone boulder that can still be seen in the town square.

This is not its original position. Before, it was located on Lookabootye Brae, to the south of the town, and was moved to its present site next to the Tolbooth in 1833. At this time it was also placed on top of another boulder, to create what now looks like a phallus. It should be stressed that the only authentic part of this monument is the whinstone on top.

Clackmannanshire may seem an unusual site for a stone sacred to a sea god because it is one of the most landlocked counties in Scotland. However, Lookabootye Brae overlooks the head of the Firth of Forth, which was once wider than it is today. The lands both south and north of the Firth of Forth were once known as Manaw, also named after Mannan. Clackmannan may have thus been the most obvious site for a cult centre dedicated to the sea god who had a strong connection to both shores of the Firth of Forth.

During and after the Roman occupation of Britain, Clackmannan seems to have been held by the Votadini, a North British tribe who served as an ally and buffer for the Romans. In the 5th century they were led to North Wales by Cunedda, who then founded the Kingdom of Gwynedd.

1 comment:

  1. The full text of “The Pagan Bible” by Melvin Gorham is available here:


    An audio version is available here: