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Early Medieval (400AD - 1099AD)

Early Christians

Petri & Latinus stones

Description:

Carved around AD 450, the Latinus Stone (right) is Scotland's oldest Christian monument. It was erected to Latinus and his un-named daughter and would have stood by an early Christian church and cemetery, pre-dating the later churches on the hilltop at Whithorn. The inscription reads:

 

TE DOMINVM / LAVDAMVS / LATINVS / ANNORVM / XXXV ET / FILIA SVA / ANNIV / ICSINUM / FECERVNT / NEPVS / BARROVA / DI

 

This translates as:

 

We praise you, the Lord! Latinus, descendant of Barravados, aged 35, and his daughter, aged 4, made a sign here.

 

Latinus is the first Christian in Scotland whose name we know, and his stone is clear evidence of the existence of a group of Christians at Whithorn as early as AD 450. They lived on the edge of what had been the Roman empire, which had collapsed and withdrawn from the other side of the Solway Firth only a generation or so earlier. By this time Christianity was one of the official religions of the empire.

The fifth century missionary St Patrick also came from Romano-British stock, possibly the son of a Christianised Roman soldier or official. Although well-known as the patron saint of Ireland, he was born and raised in the Cumbria/Galloway area.

The memorial is Romano-British in style and Latinus has a Roman name, although his ancestor has a local Celtic name.

This stone was later reused as a building block in the medieval cathedral, and was rediscovered around 1890.

Source:
The Whithorn Trust