The Lochend Stones

May the Fates Provide a Quiet Seat”

Thursday 11th July 2024 from 11am

Coinciding with the European Land Art Festival’s day of activity in Lochend Woods,

Artist JAMES WINNETT will do interpretive tours of his carvings –
11am – from Kellie Road/Gathering Area (just off Kellie Road by the junction with Middlemass Road), and
1pm – from Hallhill Car park.
3pm PAULINE SMEED of Dunbar History Society (secretary) will join us at the Gathering Area to officially unveil the stones.
Come and learn all about the subjects of the 7 stones , James’s research, the carving process, and listen to Pauline’s knowledge on all things Dunbar history.

5.30pm AGM of Dunbar Community Woodland Group -All Welcome, in the Lochend Woods Gathering Area (just off Kellie Road by the junction with Middlemass Road). Refreshments and snacks from the camp fire will be served from 5pm.

The Lochend Stones are seven carved stone artworks now installed in Dunbar Community Woodland. The stones appear as curious ruins, with each stone carrying a carving that draws on an historical event that has taken place nearby.

The woodland was once part of a large estate that surrounded Lochend House, part of the ruins of the original 17th century house can still be seen in the woods today.

When researching the stories that have shaped the area, James was struck by the stark contrast between the peaceful nature of the woodland today and the often tumultous events that have played out across the surrounding landscape -with two major battles, a five month siege and disastrous fires all playing out in this same corner of East Lothian.

The project title draws on a motto that until relatively recently could be found carved into a stone crest that lay beneath the ruins of Lochend House. A survey from 1962 describes it as follows: “a shield charged with nine stars and below is the legend SEDES DENT FATA QUIETAS (‘May) the fates give a quiet seat’)”.

The project explores the relationship between a hope for a ‘quiet seat’, in terms of a seat of power and literally as a quiet place to sit and take in the sites, sounds and scents of the surrounding woodland. Several of the stones are carved with polished recesses that function as seats.

The limestone blocks were sourced from two miles away at Dunbar Quarry. By gradually polishing the surface of the stones, intricate details of fossil corals from over 320 million years ago were revealed, foregrounding a sense of deep time. Like the carvings, these fossils have their own story to tell – one of warm, crystal-clear tropical seas when the land we now call Scotland was located south of the equator.

The designs for the artworks were developed through several stone carving workshops which took place in the woods and in local schools. The project was developed in conjunction with Dunbar Community Woodland Group, funded by Persimmon Homes through East Lothian Council’s ‘percent for art’ scheme. Stones donated by Tarmac.

Categorised as Event, News

By philip

Board member with Sustaining Dunbar