Murder Stone of Tingwall

The standing stone of Tingwall in Shetland is nearly seven feet tall. There is some evidence that it marks the death place of a fourteenth-century Lord of Skaldale, Malise Sperra, who fell battling the Earl of Orkney around 1390. This would make it a rather youthful standing stone, seeing as many others originate millennia before Christ's birth.

Locally, it is known as the Murder Stone, which does not sit well with a commemoration of a death in battle. There is also a Norse tradition that any murderer who could reach the stone before his victims’ friends and family could apprehend him could be pardoned. This seems unlikely as Norsemen were not terribly forgiving folk; it would also have made the district around the stone rather dangerous territory, as one’s assailant might easily evade justice on account of its convenient proximity. As Tingwall was the place of Shetland's Norse parliament, it seems implausible. Whatever its origins or subsequent meanings, it will certainly have witnessed centuries’ worth of human depravity, cruelty and avarice, battles and slayings. In the eighth of Romans, Paul talks of the natural world longing for its own deliverance from sin:

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. (v22)

If this stone could cry out, it would have much to say. In a sense, it too longs for the fulfilment on Daniel 2:25, in which another stone, from a mountain and not cut with hands, comes and fills the earth, ending violence and injustice forever.