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Macduff's Cross

Tour Macduff's Cross

On the old road between Auchtermuchty and Newburgh stands the remains of Macduff's Cross. The cross was placed here on the old boundary line to provide sanctuary privileges for those of the Clan Macduff. Only the pedestal of the cross now remains; the upper part which bore an inscription was cast down and broken in 1559 being spumed as a sign of Popery by the Reformers as they crossed from Perth to Cupar.

The inscription is believed to have run thus: --"An alter fort hose whom law pursues, a hall for those whom strife pursues, being without a home. Who makest thy way hither to thee this paction becomes a harbour But there is hope of peace only when the murder has been committed by those born of my grandson I set free the accusec a fine of a thousand drachms from his lands. On account of Macgridih (St. Adrian?) and of this offering take once for all the cleansing of my heirs beneath this stone filled with water."

If the Kinship was established then the murderer could go free if he surrendered nine of his cattle, and cleansed himself nine times. Certain holes in the pedestal may have held rings to which the cattle could be tied and a neighbouring farm still bears the name "Ninewells".

Close to the east side of the monument there is a small Knoll which was once known as "Croucher Knowe". A popular belief is that friends or relatives of the murderers victim would sit here and watch for the murderer in an attempt to prevent him from gaining sanctuary.

The sanctuary was set up nine hundred years ago when Fife was the Sherrifdom of Macduff. Macduff served Malcolm Canmore who helped forward the Catholic religion in Scotland. It is thought to be for this reason that a cross was chosen as the symbol of sanctuary.

If you would like to visit this area as part of a highly personalized small group tour of my native Scotland please e-mail me:

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