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Rum, Bagh Na H-uamha

Cross Slab (Early Medieval)

Site Name Rum, Bagh Na H-uamha

Classification Cross Slab (Early Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Rhum

Canmore ID 22201

Site Number NM49NW 2

NGR NM 4213 9727

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Small Isles
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Lochaber
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Early Medieval Carved Stones Project (7 September 2016)

Bagh na h-Uamha, Rum, Skye & Lochalsh, cross-slab

Measurements: H c 1.40m, W 0.41m tapering upwards to 0.24m, D 0.32m

Stone type: Torridonian sandstone

Place of discovery: NM 4213 9727

Present location: set upright above the beach at Bagh na h-Uamha on the east coast of Rum.

Evidence for discovery: found partly buried in the shingle beach at Bagh na h-Uamha in 1977 and set upright in 1982. There is a large cave overlooking the beach.

Present condition: weathered.


This pillar-shaped slab bears a pecked and smoothed equal-armed cross with small expanded terminals set on a shaft with a semi-circular base.

Date range: seventh or eighth century.

Primary references: Fisher 2001, 95.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016


Desk Based Assessment (15 November 1977)

NM49NW 2 4213 9727.

(NM 4213 9727) A cross-slab some 5 ft in length, bearing an incised Latin cross at its tapered head, was found in June 1977 at Bagh na h-Uamha on the E coast of Rhum by Mr Peacock (D Peacock, 47 Silverknowes Road, Edinburgh EH4), and reported by Mr J Keppie of the Dept of Agriculture and Fisheries, East Craigs, Edinburgh.

The slab was found lying on the stony beach about 20 m below high water mark. The photograph shows that the cross (which may date to the 7th or 8th century) appears to have been originally an equal-armed cross with the vertical arm extended downwards to form a Latin cross.

Information from OS Recorder (JLD) 15 November 1977

Field Visit (May 1983)

A pillar-stone of triangular section 1.3m high bearing an incised equal-armed cross with forked terminals on a short pedestal, probably of 7th-century date, was discovered on the beach in 1977 and has been re-erected at the head of the shore.

J A Love 1983; RCAHMS 1983, visited May 1983.

Reference (2001)

A water-worn pillar of Torridonian sandstone was found partly buried in the shingle beach in 1977 and was re-erected above high-water mark in 1982 (i). It has been set upright about 6m N of a small stream and 220m SW of the cave (Gaelic, Uamh) which gives the bay its name and which has produced occupation-material of various periods including a medieval bone playing-piece (see NM49NW 1). The bay was occupied by a small pre-clearance settlement represented by the remains of six structures and associated cultivation (see NM49NW 4).

The pillar measures about 1.4m in length, of which the lower 0.3m is concealed, and tapers upwards in width from 0.41m to 0.24m at the head. It is of triangular section, having a maximum thickness of 0.32m at the base. On the broadest face there is an almost equal-armed cross, 0.25m high and 0.21m across the arms, with triangular terminals (that to the left now obliterated). It is set on a pedestal of the same width, 0.21m in height and rising from a rounded triangular base. The carving has been pecked out to form a rounded groove about 20mm wide and only 3mm deep, although the terminals of the lower arm and the base have been sunk to about 7mm. However, the motif stands out clearly against the light grey of the surface, since it has been pecked through to an orange-buff layer.

Although this carving is of simple form and execution, the motif of an equal-armed cross on a pedestal is found in the psalter known as the Cathach of St Columba, of the late 6th or early 7th century, and in Palestinian flasks depicting the site of Golgotha.


(i) The Commissioners are indebted to Mr D Peacock, Edinburgh, for information about the discovery of this stone, and to Mr J A Love for information about its removal.

RCAHMS 1983d, no.16; J A Love 1983, fig. on p.5; Clutton-Brock 1987, 28-9; M Magnusson 1997, 12.

I Fisher 2001, 95.


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