Credit: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

University of Glasgow alumni and repatriator of Stone of Destiny, Ian Hamilton, dies.

By Odhran Gallagher

Death of QC Ian Hamilton, who helped to repatriate the Stone of Destiny to Scotland, was announced on Thursday 4 October.

The last living member of a group of University of Glasgow students who returned the Stone of Destiny from London to Scotland has died aged 97. 

While a student at the University of Glasgow, the actions of Hamilton and three other students made national headlines after they travelled from Glasgow to London to remove the Stone of Destiny from Westminster Abbey and return it to Scotland. 

The Stone of Destiny was used for centuries in the coronation of Scottish monarchs. The stone was seized by King Edward I in 1296 during the Scottish Wars of Independence and taken to Westminster Abbey, where it lay until Ian Hamilton helped to remove it on Christmas Day 1950.

The stone was safely delivered to Arbroath Abbey in April of 1959 and ultimately to Edinburgh Castle, where it now lies. Although, to this day rumours still persist that in fact a replica was returned, and that the original is hidden somewhere in the west-end of Glasgow, with many pointing to The Arlington pub on Woodlands Road. 

Later in his life, Ian Hamilton became a notable solicitor. He also wrote two books in his lifetime, which are a mix of autobiography and political polemic. Moreover, a film about the events surrounding the Stone of Destiny’s repatriation was released in 2009, in which Hamilton made a cameo appearance. 

The Glasgow University Scottish Nationalist Association (GUSNA) released a statement regarding Hamilton’s death: “GUSNA is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our totemic former member, Ian Hamilton…He was instrumental in the return of the Stone of the Destiny in 1950, which serves as not just a landmark in the history of independence movement, but a testament to the enormous difference individuals can make. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this time.”.


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