A Class I Symbol Stone carved from gabbro stone with a symbol of a man carrying an axe with two hands over his right hand shoulder. He wears a tunic and possibly a face mask which extends over his ears to a cover down the back. His face is destinctive and shows his features in profile with sharp teeth. Some have described him as a warrior, others a king or slaughterman. One thing is certain, no-one knows why he was carved onto the stone which is thoughts to have been found where it lay for well over 1000 years.
He is sited in the reception of Aberdeenshire Council Headquarters, Woodhill House. Found originally in Barflats Field, Rhynie by Gavin and Kevin Alston, it resided in the field and subsequently moved to their steading and finally in 1998 moved to Woodhill House, Aberdeen.
Finding Rhynie Man
Numbers 10, 23, 27, 35, 37, 218 and X40 buses pass the building. Parking for about 10 cars and some disabled parking bays are available in the visitor parking area in front of Woodhill House. Entry to building is signposted. Rhynie Man is in the foyer beside the reception desk. Opening times are the same as the Aberdeenshire Council buildings.
The Alston Family kindly shared a recording they have treasured for a long time. It describes the official launch of my residency in Woodhill House, Aberdeen. Back in the day, before the creation of Unitary Authorities (1996 onwards) there were Regional Councils which were a two-tier local government; in my area it was named Grampian Regional Council and was made up of a number of smaller District Councils. Rhynie fell into the Gordon District (named after the Gordon Family who established themselves in the area in the 15th Century – but that’s an entirely different story).This part of the North East also had its own Regional Television channel and news; Grampian Television, which formed in 1961, covered the area north of the Tay and continued as an Independent Television Network until 1997 and finally subsumed into the Scottish Television branding by 2006.
For locals of the North East, the dulcet tones of John Duncanson, with his regular ‘Oidhche Mhath’ at the end of the programmes was a daily messenger of news. Here he is describing my movement from Rhynie to Woodhill House.
After being found in 1978 at Barflats, Rhynie and laying in the field for a while, I was moved to the steading at the Alston’s family farm where I stayed until 1988. While I was in the field and in the steading I still had visitors and some even did some stone rubbings and have them in their homes to this day!
Ian Shepherd, Aberdeenshire Council’s Archaeologist from 1975 to 2009, took me into the council’s care which is a bit like being fostered. I’m well looked after and until a safe place in Rhynie is available I will stay in Woodhill House for the forseeable future. There is an open door agreement with the people of Rhynie; potentially, if the Rhynie Community can provide me somewhere to stay, I am suitably supervised and looked after, one day I could return home. One suggestion I’ve heard is that I should be placed beside the bar in the Village’s Hotel! Now there’s an idea…
After 1998 I was taken to Aberdeen and installed in Woodhill House’s foyer, the Headquarters of Aberdeenshire Council. I was moved by one of the oldest companies in the United Kingdom, The Shore Porters Society (established 1498). I would love to hear from the guys that moved me so carefully and installed me in the foyer. With thanks to the Alston Family for providing the photos.
I stayed in the steading for about 10 years
one day Shore Porters came and picked me up
and moved me onto…..
a large flat bed lorry….
and took me to Aberdeen.
I remain here, in the reception of Woodhill House, supervised by an Archaeologist, protected from the elements (I’m a very special stone) and on view to the public during office hours. My only companions are people walking past and the lovely receptionists who keep me entertained. They are always happy to introduce you to me if you’re in Aberdeen and want to pop in to say hi.
For more details about visiting please contact – Aberdeenshire Council Headquarters