The following notes were sent to us by Andrew Medley, who saw the stones at Doors Open Day:
The inscription is interesting and puzzling “HERE LIES JOHN SON OF PHILIPPE CISSORIS”. “Cissoris” is the latinised form of “Tailor”. It could be a surname or it could simply indicate Philippe’s profession, although it seems unlikely that a tailor would be buried in a high status grave – the sword indicates that it is the grave of a nobleman and the shield indicates that it was a nobleman of the de la Haye family. Looking at the family trees of the Hays of Errol, the Hays of Leys or the Hays of Yester and Tweedale, there is no Philippe de la Haye and certainly no John de la Haye son of Philippe. That exhausts all the Scottish Hays, however there is another possibilty. The Scottish Hays are descended from the barons of La Haye du Puits in Normandy who are descended from the original de la Haye, Turstein Haldup who acquired the Barony of La Haye through marriage to Emma of Normandy who was either sister or aunt of William the Conqueror. Turstein and his son Odo de Lessay, bishop of Bayeux were with William the Conqueror when he invaded England. The Barony of La Haye was passed on to Tursteins grandson Robert de la Haye but was then split between Robert’s two sons, Rolf and Richard de la Haye. The Barons of de la Haye du Puits were descended from Richard and the Barons of de la Haye-Hue were descended from Rolf. The interesting thing is that the coat of arms for de la Haye-Hue is three escutcheons gules – the same coat of arms borne by the Barons and Earls of Errol who were descended from La Haye du Puits. In 1419 the Baron of Haye-Hue was Philippe. That date is known because of a document ordering the confiscation of Philippe’s lands by Henry V of England (and also of Normandy at that time). Philippe had two sons, one also called Philippe who died without heirs, the other was called Jean. Perhaps this is the ‘John son of Philippe’ who lay under that stone. If so the stone would probably date from the first half of 15th century. And the term ‘Cissoris’? Could it be a reference to Philippe being cut off from his land and property? Finding himself on the wrong side of Henry V would also provide a good explanation for Philippe and Jean to seek sanctuary with their cousins in Scotland.
The above is largely based on genealogical research carried out by French individuals into their own links with the de la Haye family. Much of this information is freely available on the internet. Original sources such as charter documents are harder to access, so while this explanation for the Johamnes stone seems plausible, the information that it is based on would need to be firmed up by consulting original source material.