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Eilean Mor, St Cormac's Chapel, Cross 4

Cross (Early Medieval)

Site Name Eilean Mor, St Cormac's Chapel, Cross 4

Classification Cross (Early Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) 'Saint's Grave'

Canmore ID 38641

Site Number NR67NE 5

NGR NR 6667 7528

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/38641

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish South Knapdale
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NR67NE 5 6667 7528

(NR 6667 7527) Grave (NAT)

OS 6" map (1924)

There is a standing cross, its head broken, near the SE corner of the chapel on Eilean Mor. It is sculptured with panels of interlace and animal forms (M Campbell and M Sandeman 1964). It stands at the W end of what is said to be the grave of St Carmaig.

M E M Donaldson 1930.

Activities

Field Visit (16 May 1973)

The cross is as described. It stands at the W end of a small rectangular stone setting.

Visited by OS (DWR) 16 May 1973.

Field Visit (August 1984)

4) Shaft and lower part of the head of a slab-like freestanding cross of schist, measuring 1.75m in visible height and 0.62m in width, which tapers in thickness from 120mm to 110mm. A further 0.lm of decoration on the W face is concealed below the present ground-level. The incomplete cross-head had oval armpits which were carefully shaped although not drafted through on a uniform plane, and the original height of the cross was at least 2.8m. Most of the surface of the W face has flaked off, and no ornament remains on the surviving stump of the head except for what may have been the edge of an area of interlace on the E face.

The E face has a triple margin whose two broad inner members returned onto the ring. The margin frames a blank panel, with no evidence of a former inscription, at the base of the shaft, above which are two wrestling beak-headed monsters with tails and prominent genitals. Each holds with its free hand one of the two dangling lower cords attached to a twisted horizontal plait with a central knot, above which there is a panel of key-pattern similar to that on the cross-slab at Ardchattan (Lorn). This is followed by three motifs with no horizontal demarcation, the lowest one being a hooded rider. The horse is shown in considerable detail, having a girth-strap, but it is poorly proportioned and the low-set rider is excessively small. A plaited knot with a cruciform centre fills a space at the left. Above the rider there is a large monster shown walking to the right and gripping a tapering ?snake in its fierce jaws. Its tail and crest are attached in spirals to the crests of the two lower animals in an incomplete plaited group of four filling the top of the shaft. Their heads and hindquarters are bent at right angles to the bodies, which form a central cross, and each has a forepaw grasping one hind-leg of the opposite beast, while it bites the other leg.

The W face has a broad margin with double-beaded knotwork between flat mouldings, which continue onto the surviving N stump of the ring. It extends below the present ground-level to frame two confronted squatting beasts with interpenetrating plaited necks and large heads with long pendent tongues. Above there is a panel of coarse double-beaded interlace, some strands of which appear to continue onto the flaked area which has a very broad vertical band, of uncertain significance, at the left. The only ornament visible on the upper part of the shaft is the forequarters of a stag towards the left. This cross, whose form appears to have been influenced by cross-slabs such as that at Ardchattan, is probably of 10th century date. (Drawing by J Skene, 1832, in NMRS, MS 28(SAS 464), f.53; SSS 1, p1.100; White, Knapdale, pls.29, 30;JRSAI, 29 (1899), 343-5; ECMS, 3, 379, figs.396a, b).

RCAHMS 1992, visited August 1984

Reference (2001)

(4) SE of the chapel, at the head of a former 'Saint's Grave', stands the shaft and lower part of the head of a slab-like ringed cross. It is 1.75m in visible height by 0.62m, but was at least 2.8m in original height. The cross-head, which had oval armpits, retains no ornament. The E face has triple margins, continued onto the ring, which frame a blank panel at the foot of the shaft. Above this are two wrestling beak-headed monsters with tails and prominent genitals, each holding a cord attached to a horizontal plait above which is a panel of key-pattern similar to that at Ardchattan (Lorn). This is followed by a hooded rider, and a plaited knot at the left. Above, and without division, there is a large monster gripping a ?snake in its fierce jaws and linked by its tail and crest to a cruciform group of four animals at the top of the shaft.

The W face has a broad margin with double-beaded knotwork which continues onto the surviving N stump of the ring. At the foot this frames two squatting beasts with interpenetrating necks and large heads. Above an area of double-beaded interlace the shaft is badly flaked, although the forequarters of a stag are visible at the left.

I Fisher 2001.

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