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Spalding and the Missing Stone of Scone

As the Stone of Destiny, otherwise known as the Stone of Scone, winds its way from Scotland to nestle below the King's posterior on the throne at his Coronation it was subject to no small drama when it was stolen in December 1950 and recovered the following April. In the meantime it was subject to a huge manhunt to find it and the drama of this event even touched Spalding in the fens of Lincolnshire.

The Stone of Scone was thought to have been the ancient coronation seat of the Kings of Scotland and was effectively looted by Edward 1 in 1296 to be placed beneath the English throne. As such the theft and symbolism is of great significance to both Scottish nationalists and British unionists. The placing of this stone below the Coronation throne in Westminster Abbey was a sign of the United Kingdoms with one ruler. This significance was so great that in WW2 both he throne and the stone were hidden at different locations in case of invasion or a targeted looting by enemies or Scottish Nationalists in a bid to break the Union.

After the War it was returned to Westminster Abbey where it was stolen by four Glaswegian students with Scottish Nationalist sympathies in December 1950. After an extensive national search focussing upon Scotland and then on England the stone was eventually released and recovered on the site of the high alter of Arbroath Abbey, which was of significance as the site of the declaration of Scottish nationhood in 1320. It was returned to Westminster Abbey and was used in the subsequent Coronation of the new Queen.

The stone was returned to Edinburgh in 1996.

So what of Spalding's little part in this drama. In March 1951 the Black Swan pub in New Road Spalding was one of the oldest pubs in the town and at the centre of the town's commerce. Indeed most local land auctions were held at this venue. As the mystery of the missing stone became greater a rumour developed in the locality that the stone had been hidden in the cellar of the Black Swan. This grew so great that the police asked to inspect the cellar. Alas, no stone was found. But, what if......?

Daily Mirror article from December 1950

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