Saints and Stones: Abernethy Round Tower

The Abernethy Round is a rare example of a circular freestanding tower surviving in Scotland. It is thought that the tower in Abernethy was built by Culdee monks who had established a monastery here some time around 1100, although some have dated the founding to 900 A.D.

The tower is 74 feet high and 15 feet in diameter at the bottom, tapering to 13 feet at the top. The walls are made from sandstone blocks laid in courses, and are some 3-1/2 feet thick. The bottom dozen courses are of a grayer stone than the rest of the tower, leading to speculation that the base was built sometime before the rest, or that the upper parts were rebuilt some time during the early life of the tower.

The Abernethy Round Tower may have postdated the age of the Picts by several centuries, but it does carry evidence of Abernethy's important role in the Pictish world. Set upright against the base of the tower, just outside the churchyard gates, is a Pictish symbol stone carved with traditional Pictish designs. The stone predates the tower by about 400 years, dating to about the year 600 A.D. The stone is carved wih symbols of a hammer and tuning fork anvil and the traditional Pictish crescent and V-rod design.

The round tower is located on the grounds of the Kirk of St. Bride, founded by Nechtan, king of the Picts around 460 A.D. and dedicated to St. Brigid of Kildare. The first stone church on the site was built by Gartnaidh, king of the Picts around 590 A.D. The present day church is from the early 19th Century and is dedicated to St. Brigid.

About the Abernethy Round Tower

Historic Scotland: Abernethy Round Tower
Undiscovered Scotland: Abernethy Round Tower
Canmore: Abernethy Round Tower
Wikipedia: Abernethy, Perth and Kinross
Wikipedia: Culdees

Journey to the Abernethy Round Tower

The Abernethy Round Tower is located in the village of Abernethy off the A913 eight miles south of Perth in Perth and Kinross, Scotland.

Ordnance Survey Map (NO1891116390)

Visitors Information

Visitors information may be found at the Historic Scotland Abernethy Round Tower website. General tourist information may be found at the Perthshire website.

Additional Photos of the Abernethy Round Tower

Approaching the Abernethy Round Tower
Top of the Abernethy Round Tower
Information Plaque for the Abernethy Round Tower
Abernethy Round Tower
Abernethy Round Tower
Door to the Abernethy Round Tower
Pictish Symbol Stone Near Abernethy Round Tower

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