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Mugdrum Cross, Sculptured Crosses

Cross(S) (Early Medieval)

Site Name Mugdrum Cross, Sculptured Crosses

Classification Cross(S) (Early Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Mugdrum House Policies

Canmore ID 30065

Site Number NO21NW 1

NGR NO 22532 18192

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Fife
  • Parish Newburgh
  • Former Region Fife
  • Former District North East Fife
  • Former County Fife


Mugdrum, Fife, cross-shaft in base

Measurements: shaft H 3.36m, W 0.74m, D 0.41m: base H 0.46m, L 1.68m, W 1.22m

Stone type: red sandstone

Place of discovery: NO 2263 1819

Present location: in situ near Mugdrum House.

Evidence for discovery: first illustrated in 1840.

Present condition: extremely weathered shaft, head of cross missing.


The cross stands on a slight rise near the S bank of the River Tay and has clearly been exposed to the prevailing westerly winds, for the west and south faces are so badly eroded that little survives of their carving. It is oriented east-west, and the carving on the east and north faces (A and B) is best seen in Tom Gray’s photographs of 1995 (used in Proudfoot 1997). The shaft stands in an apparently plain rectangular solid base, and a band of softer sandstone has eroded even more to give the shaft a waisted appearance. Each face of the shaft appears to have been bordered by a roll moulding with another thinner roll moulding within it.

On face A the ornament is in four panels and much detail has been lost but the broad themes are clear: the top panel contains a trotting horse and rider, facing left, and a strip of interlace separates them from another horse and rider in the panel below, the rider armed with a spear and the horse again trotting to the left. Below another strip of interlace, the third panel contains two horsemen riding to the left, and the fourth panel shows the end of a hunt with fallen deer on the left being attacked by hounds on the right. Narrow face B, the north face, is also divided into four panels by a fine double-roll moulding. The top two panels are square and the first contains traces of regular knotwork, while the second has a zoomorphic motif. The third panel is a long rectangle and contains a well executed inhabited vine scroll consisting of three scrolls. Each scroll is inhabited by a creature described by Allen as a winged dragon, perhaps a griffin, each of whose legs extend well outside their scroll. Between the scrolls are bunches of berries or leaves. At the base of the shaft there is a rectangular panel of diagonal key pattern.

Date: tenth century.

References: Butler 1897, 233-6; ECMS pt 3, 366, 367; Proudfoot 1997, 54-6.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016


Carpow, Perthshire, cross-slab fragment

Measurements: H 0.74m, W 0.46m, D 0.15m

Stone type: red sandstone

Place of discovery: NO 2045 1754

Present location: in private ownership at Mugdrum House.

Evidence for discovery: found re-used as the lintel of a well in the garden in the nineteenth century and taken to the summerhouse at Mugdrum House in 1877.

Present condition: very worn and damaged by re-working for use as a lintel in 1610.


This is a central part of a cross-slab, which has been trimmed and re-worked. It is carved in relief on both broad faces, and it may have had carving on the surviving narrow face with has been removed and which now bears the date 1610, which was presumably the visible face of the well lintel. On each broad face are the remains of a ringed cross, the surviving side-arm of which extends to the edge of the slab, and in which the space between ring and armpit was perforated. On face A the cross and ring are outlined by a recessed band on which is incised a spiral pattern, and the panel beside the right-hand side of the shaft contains two entwined serpents with a fish-tail. More detail has survived on face C where the cross itself is carved in relief with interlace, and the background to the cross on the left-hand side is divided into two panels by narrow bands of interlace. The upper panel contains a stag with antlers, his body facing left and his head turned to look backwards. In the lower panel is the upper part of an animal with spiral joints.

Date: ninth or tenth century.

References: ECMS pt 3, 311-13; Proudfoot 1997, 53-4 (no 10).

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016


Field Visit (18 May 1970)

Mugdrum Cross, as described and illustrated, with the fragment of the other cross at its base.

Visited by OS (R D) 18 May 1970.

Reference (1988)

Cross, 350m SW of the house (NO21NW 54).

J Gifford 1988.

Desk Based Assessment

NO21NW 1 22532 18192

See also NO21NW 78 and 79.

(NO 2253 1819) Mugdrum Cross (NR)

OS 6" map, (1959)

This much mutilated 9th - 10th century (F T Wainwright 1959) free-standing cross is still erect on its rectangular base, which is 5' 6" by 4' by 1' 6" high. The shaft and what remains of the head are 11' high, by 2' 5" by 1' 4", sculptured in relief on four faces. The front is divided into four panels, three of which contain horsemen with the fourth showing hounds chasing stags. On the right side the two bottom panels contain scroll foliage and winged dragons, but the other two sides are completely defaced.

At its foot, lies another cross fragment, of similar date, measuring 2' 3" by 1' 7 1/2" thick, which is sculptured. This acted as the lintel of a well in the garden of Carpow House (NO 2057 1783) prior to moving to its present location, and the missing part is believed to have been built into one of the steadings on Carpow Estate NO 22532 18192.

Information from OS.

J R Allen and J Anderson 1903; A Laing 1878; F T Wainwright 1955.


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