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Iona, Iona Abbey

Cross(S) (Period Unassigned), Cross Slab(S) (Early Medieval)

Site Name Iona, Iona Abbey

Classification Cross(S) (Period Unassigned), Cross Slab(S) (Early Medieval)

Canmore ID 204570

Site Number NM22SE 5.03

NGR NM 2867 2451

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/204570

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Kilfinichen And Kilvickeon
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Activities

Reference (2001)

NM22SE 5.03 2867 2451

In addition to those crosses and other carved stones preserved in the Abbey Museum, a number remain in a number of locations around the Abbey buildings:

(Iona no.13) Abbey Church, S choir-aisle. Part of a worn slab, 0.67m by 0.43m, bearing a thinly-incised Latin cross with forked terminals. On each side of the cross is a single vertical line, that on the left being largely obliterated.

(Iona no.17) About 7m S of St Martin's Cross, with other medieval graveslabs. Irregular slab, 1.65m by 0.36m, which bears at each end a Greek cross with barred terminals.

(Iona no.28) Abbey Church, S transept. Fragment of a slab, 0.32m by 0.16m, bearing a raised Latin cross.

(Iona no.38) Abbey Church, S choir-aisle. Part of a slab, 0.90m by 0.40m, bearing a ringed cross with square slightly-sunk armpits. The shaft is much flaked but appears to have had an open foot. A groove has been scored down the centre of the stem of the cross-head.

(Iona no.48) Abbey, re-used in 1875 as a door-lintel at the foot of the refectory stair. Part of a slab, now whitewashed, bearing faint traces of a ringed cross with rounded and sunken armpits.

(Iona no.49) Abbey, incorporated in the paving in front of 'St Columba's Shrine'. Irregularly-shaped slab, 1.52m by 0.50m, bearing a ringed cross with rounded sunken armpits.

(Iona no.62) S transept, E wall. Fragment of a slab of fine-grained sandstone, 0.15m by 0.09m. On face (a) is part of a ringed cross with rounded armpits and beaded edges, carved in relief, and on face (b) a linear incised cross.

(Iona no.66) Lost; formerly at the Abbey. Slab measuring 0.47m by 0.37m, recorded by Dryden in 1877. It bore in false relief a ringed cross with square armpits, framed between two narrow vertical sunk panels. The shaft was slightly wider below the cross-head than within it, and the extremity of the upper arm appears to have been splayed. (Dryden MS 3, no.12).

(Iona no.72) Abbey Church, S transept. Fragment of a cruciform stone, 0.31m by 0.19m. One side-arm is intact and measures 0.05m in length.

(Iona no. 78) Abbey Church, S transept. Cross-slab, broken at the junction of shaft and head which is itself broken vertically; 1.09m in length including a tenoned butt, with a shaft 0.24m wide and a disc 0.37m in diameter. One face bears a ringed cross with rounded sunken armpits; its lower limb, and a 25mm margin, are incised on the shaft of the slab, whereas the head is carved on the disc in false relief within a raised margin. The arms extend to the edge of the disc, and a broken area at the top may indicate the former position of a projecting finial.

(Iona no. 79) Abbey Church, S transept. Head of a small disc-headed cross-slab of sandstone, much weathered, 0.24m in diameter and 65mm thick. On one face is a ringed cross with wide rounded armpits; the ends of the arms project slightly beyond the perimeter. The three surviving arms are of unequal width, and the carving may have represented a crucifix. The centres of the cantons form ovoid bosses.

(Iona no. 89) Abbey Church, S transept; found in Reilig Odhrain in 1972. Sandstone shaft-fragment, 0.54m by 0.27m. Each face is framed between 45mm angle-mouldings, whereas the edges are plain. On face (a) there are two human figures below a legless creature whose outstretched arms return downwards as protecting wings. The figures are flanked by vertical posts, perhaps the side-posts of a chair or throne, and the scene probably depicts ecclesiastics sheltered by a guardian angel. Face (b) bears the feet and lower part of the legs of two confronted human figures, above two panels of interlace, the upper one being an eight-strand plait and the lower one perhaps incorporating human figures or animal-heads.

(Iona no. 100) Abbey Church, S transept; discovered in 1976 in excavations S of 'St Columba's Shrine'. Corner of a roughly-shaped socket-stone, 0.58m by 0.40m by 0.14m thick.

(Iona no. 104) Post (B) outside E wall of Abbey Museum, and other fragments in Abbey Church, S transept. Six fragments of contorted garnet-schist, including: (A) the upper part of a 0.22m square post with bevelled apex, bearing key-ornament and, on two faces, double mouldings; (B) the lower part of a square post with massive butt, having two adjacent faces slotted and rebated and the others panelled between double mouldings; and (C) a fragment of a similar post with single mouldings. These may have belonged to a corner-post shrine, a platform supporting a heavy wooden shrine, or an open kerb round a grave. Three slabs of rectangular section (D, E, F) are each wrought with similar key-ornament and mouldings on one narrow edge and traces of a rebate on the other.

(Iona no. 106) Outside the W door of the abbey church is a block of granite, 1.32m by 0.55m and at least 0.4m high, bearing on one end a linear incised equal-armed cross with barred terminals. A shallow depression carved in the top has been described as a trough in which pilgrims washed their feet. In local tradition it was known as 'the cradle of the north wind', and was credited with the property of attracting a favourable wind.

(Iona no. 107) Built into the SW anta of 'St Columba's Shrine' is a symmetrical moulded fragment, 0.31m in visible length by 0.2m high. It tapers in thickness from 110mm above a basal flange to 70mm below a rounded top. A slot in the underside contains a rounded central channel. It may have formed part of an elongated feature such as the ridge of a mortuary house, of a type that formerly existed in Reilig Odhrain.

I Fisher 2001.

External Reference (28 October 2011)

Scheduled as element within 'The monument known as St Mary's Abbey, Iona, monastic settlement [comprising] the remains of the large early historic monastic settlement founded by St Columba in AD 563, St Martin's Cross, and parts of medieval buildings associated with the Benedictine Abbey of St Mary founded around AD 1200.'

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 28 October 2011.

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