Location: West Highland Peninsulas
archaeology, gaelic language and placenames

Clach a'Phoanais (The Punishment Stone)

Outside the Strontian Hotel there is a standing stone with an iron ring attached to it. The age and origins of the stone are unknown and it is not clear what the ring was used for. Theories range from a grave marker to a place to tie up barges transporting lead from the local mine.

A minister writing in the 1860s called it the Clach a’ Phoanais (Punishment Stone) and suggested it had a different purpose: “A rude slab 5 feet high 2 feet broad and 9 inches thick, stands in front of the Inn at Strontian. On market days it was the custom when any one became obstreperous, to chain him to this stone until he showed symptoms of repentance.” This is supported by its alternative name – the ‘Branks Stone.’ A ‘branks’ was a bridle-like device used in public punishment.

More information on visiting the area can be found here.