Places to Visit in Scotland
- Abernethy Round Tower
Abernethy is on the main A913 road from Perth to Cupar and St Andrews in Fife. It was here that King Malcolm III> met William the Conqueror in 1072, only six years after the Battle of Hastings and the Norman Conquest of England. The Scottish ruler assured William that Malcolm's marriage to Margaret, sister of Edgar Atheling, was not a threat to him - Edgar would have become King of England if William the Conqueror from Normandy had not over-run the country. Despite the stature of Malcolm Canmore in early Scottish history, it appears that the Scottish king gave William hostages and may have knelt in feudal submission to the ruler of England and Normandy.
The pencil slim, 74 feet high round tower in Abernethy was probably built towards the end of the 11th century, though some scholars believe it may have been even earlier and that the Romanesque windows were added at a later date. It is one of only two Irish Celtic round towers to have survived in Scotland (the other is at Brechin). It would have been used as a watch tower and may have offered some shelter for the monks at the local monastery. Access to the tower can be obtained by collecting a key from the local tearoom across the village square!
At the foot of the tower is a broken Pictish symbol stone. Abernethy had been an important centre of the Pictish kingdom for a long time and the seat of a Celtic bishopric long before Malcolm.
There is an ancient village cross in the village square near by, bearing the date 1458 and with the lion rampant and other heraldic shields at the top.
There are the remains of a Roman fort and naval base, north of Abernethy on the banks of the river Tay at Carpow, off the A913 road. A slab found there was dedicated to the Roman emperor Caracalla. Although there are broad ditches and the outline of ramparts, there is not much to see of the fort as it is now in the grounds of Carpow House.
As an aside, Abernethy has nothing to do with the "Abernethy biscuit" which was first made to a recipe by a Dr John Abernethy!
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