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Breckon, Crosskirk, Cemetery And War Memorial

Church (Period Unassigned), Rune Inscribed Stone (Norse), War Memorial (20th Century), Figurine (Bronze)

Site Name Breckon, Crosskirk, Cemetery And War Memorial

Classification Church (Period Unassigned), Rune Inscribed Stone (Norse), War Memorial (20th Century), Figurine (Bronze)

Alternative Name(s) Eshaness; Cross Kirk; Eshaness War Memorial

Canmore ID 499

Site Number HU27NW 6

NGR HU 2123 7803

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

Administrative Areas

  • Council Shetland Islands
  • Parish Northmavine
  • Former Region Shetland Islands Area
  • Former District Shetland
  • Former County Shetland


Breckon, Eshaness, Shetland, portable altar slab fragment

Measurements: H 120mm, W 115mm

Stone type:

Place of discovery: HU 2117 7787

Present location: Shetland Museum (SM ARC 2013.79)

Evidence for discovery: found in 2012 by Les Smith on a ruined farmstead some 100m south of Crosskirk. This information from the finder corrects Scott and Ritchie (2014, 193, 200), where it is stated that the slab came from the graveyard.

Present condition: broken along two edges, one of which may have been deliberately trimmed.


This small slab is incised on one broad face with an equal-armed cross with bars across the arms (crosslets). The cross is not quite central to the slab as it survives, and this, together with the fact that only two edges are intact, suggests that this fragment is the top left-hand corner of an altar slab, which probably bore a cross in each corner and in the centre. It seems likely that the stone came originally from the nearby site of Crosskirk, a twelfth-century foundation.

Date: twelfth century or earlier.

References: Scott & Ritchie 2014, 193, 196, 200.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016


Stenness, Eshaness, Shetland, carved stone fragment

Measurements: H 110mm, W 70mm

Stone type: sandstone

Place of discovery: HU 2114 7735

Present location: Shetland Museum, Lerwick (ARC 2016.233)

Evidence for discovery: found lying face down on the cliff-top west of Stenness in 2012 and given to the museum. It may have come originally from the Eshaness graveyard.

Present condition: broken along all sides, and part of the carved surface has flaked off.


There are clear traces of incised carving on this fragment, including parallel lines and parts of three panels of interlace.

Date: early medieval.


Compiled by A Ritchie 2016

Archaeology Notes

HU27NW 6 2123 7803.

(HU 2125 7806) Cross Kirk (NR) (Site of)

Burial Ground (TI)

OS 6" map, Shetland, 2nd ed. (1900)

The ruins of a church, oblong on plan and measuring 34' 10" E-W by 20' 3" N-S over walls still standing from 2' to 4' high. The only opening traceable is the entrance, which is centred in the west gable.

Low refers to a gravestone about 5 feet long, with shallow engraving on it, much defaced, with an inscription round the edge in "a mixed Runick" (G Low 1879).

The stone, which still survives, appears to have been a typical 17th century tomb-slab with a marginal inscription, illegible but probably beginning in the dexter top-corner with the usual formula 'Hei (r lies) or 'Hei (c jacet). A small bronze figure of a horse identified by Prof. Brogger as an early 14th century Scandinavian scale-weight was found at this site (Proc Soc Antiq Scot 1937)

RCAHMS 1946, visited 1930

Cross Kirk is as described by the RCAHMS. Traces of the old kirkyard wall, 1.4m thick, are discernible outside the present graveyard wall on the N and E. The stone described by Low, now identified as a Runic-inscribed stone with runes defaced, was donated by the late L.G. Scott to the Shetland Museum (Accession no ARC 65467). The graveyard is still used.

Published survey (6") correct.

Visited by OS (NKB) 28 April 1969

The Ordnance Survey may have confused the inscriptions, as this site has possibly produced two runic inscriptions, one possibly being held in the Shetland Museum. The stone decribed by Low (Low 1879) is earthfast beneath the modern memorial to John Williamson - 'Johnnie Notions'.

Information contained in a note from Dr S Foster, Historic Scotland, 27 July 2000

Scheduled as 'Cross Kirk, Breckon, runic insciription... an inscribed gravestone of medieval date'.

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 9 October 2001.


Project (February 2014 - July 2014)

A data upgrade project to record war memorials.


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