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The story of the Glasgow pub that is home to the 'real' Stone of Destiny

As we now move towards King Charles's coronation, we take a look back at a classic tale of the 'real' Stone of Destiny and its links to a Glasgow pub.

Published: September 21, 2022

There has been speculation for years as to whether the Stone of Destiny is fake, with one Glasgow pub claiming to be home to the 'real' Stone of Destiny.

With Prince Charles now officially King Charles III, the Stone of Destiny will travel from Scotland to London for his coronation, but is it the real stone?

What is the Stone of Destiny?

Regarded as a sacred object, The Stone of Destiny – also known as the Stone of Scone – is an ancient symbol of Scotland’s monarchy and was used as part of the coronation of Scots kings the Scots kings for years.

It is thought that it was first used in Argyll for the coronations of the Scots kings of the Gaelic kingdom of Dalriada with it brought to Scone by Kenneth MacAlpin, the 36th King of Dalriada, around 841 AD for his Coronation.

In August 1296 it was taken as war booty by Edward I as he sought to finally assert his total authority over Scotland.

The stone was taken to London and lay in Westminster Abbey for centuries until Christmas Day 1950, when four Glasgow University students stole it and returned it to Scotland.

It was found some three months later, 500 miles away, at the high altar of Arbroath Abbey.

In 1996 it was placed at Edinburgh Castle, then in November 2020 Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced plans to relocate the stone to Perth.

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It was last used in 1953 for the crowning of Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey, where it became part of the Coronation Chair, although some doubt if it is actually the true Stone of Destiny.

Is the real Stone of Destiny in Glasgow?

Stone of Destiny
Picture: The Arlington

According to pub legend, the real Stone of Destiny resides in the historic bar, The Arlington which has been operating since 1860, as this was where the students who stole it hid it.

The story goes that the Stone of Destiny that was returned was a replica that had been fashioned by the students.

The Arlington bar, which is located on Woodlands Road, displays the ‘real’ Stone of Destiny prominently in a glass case on the bar.

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In 2021 The Arlington was sold to a new owner, and has been visited by famous faces such as Billy Connolly, Frankie Miller and punk band, The Clash.

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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