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Morham Parish Church; Burial-ground And War Memorial

Burial Ground (Period Unassigned), Church (Period Unassigned), Cross (Period Unassigned)(Possible), Wall(S) (Period Unassigned), War Memorial(S) (20th Century)

Site Name Morham Parish Church; Burial-ground And War Memorial

Classification Burial Ground (Period Unassigned), Church (Period Unassigned), Cross (Period Unassigned)(Possible), Wall(S) (Period Unassigned), War Memorial(S) (20th Century)

Canmore ID 56423

Site Number NT57SE 31

NGR NT 55658 72597

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

Administrative Areas

  • Council East Lothian
  • Parish Morham
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District East Lothian
  • Former County East Lothian


Morham, East Lothian, cross-shaft fragment

Measurements: H 1.02m, W 0.34m, D 0.21m

Stone type: red sandstone

Place of discovery: NT 5565 7259

Present location: National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh (L.1928.6)

Evidence for discovery: found re-used in the south wall of the eighteenth-century parish church, the stone was removed in 1928 and donated to the museum.

Present condition: broken but the carving is in good condition.


This is a central portion of a very fine Anglo-Saxon cross-shaft, broken top and bottom. All four faces are carved in relief, with a cable moulding at the edges and the ornament contained within a plain roll moulding. The cable has a median line. Face A bears a vine scroll with ridged nodes, trilobed berry bunches and leaves with scooped centres, and the four surviving scrolls are inhabited by birds and animals whose heads and limbs extend beyond the confines of the scrolls. Unusually, the creatures are composed as if they were designed to be seen in a horizontal strip, like a frieze, rather than rising vertically. The lowest surviving quadruped is upright and has one hind leg braced against the volute and its head and other three legs extending well beyond. The body of the next quadruped faces the animal below, but its head is twisted back to bite the volute in which it stands. Its front legs are braced against the vine and its hind legs trail over the vine. The next two creatures also face downwards. The third is a bird biting a berry bunch, with one leg braced against the volute and the other stretched behind and outside the volute. Its wing extends over the volute and its tail feathers extend below. The fourth is a grotesque creature whose elongated neck is intertwined with the volute and whose head has the protuberant eyes of a Pictish goggle-eyed beast. Alternatively the head may be on the tail of a beast standing upright, of which the upper part of the body missing. Its front legs are braced against the main stem of the vine, but its hind-quarters are missing and outside the volute.

Face C bears two separate knotwork designs in cords with a median incised line. Narrow faces B and D are carved with simple scroll designs, very similar but not identical, with ridged nodes, trilobed and quadrilobed berry bunches and pointed leaves with scooped centres. Some of the berry bunches hang down and others are upturned.

Date range: late eighth or ninth century.

References: Callander 1933, 241-3.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016

Archaeology Notes

NT57SE 31 5566 7259

For discovery of long cist in the churchyard, see NT57SE 32.

This stone is accepted by MacKie as a fragment of an Early Christian Anglian cross shaft with interlace decoration. However, McWilliam notes it as 'a re-used strip of 12th century carving'. He also notes that the Dalrymple loft attached to the church was built about 1730.

E W MacKie 1975; C McWilliam 1978

(NT 5566 7259) Morham parish church was built in 1724. In it S wall is inserted a stone 4' long and 8" high which is possibly the side of an Early Christian cross- shaft. The belfry over the W gable dates from 1685; within it is a bell dated 1681.



Field Visit (7 July 1975)

The stone described by the RCAHMS is situated at ground level next to a blocked doorway. It is impossible to say whether it is a cross-shaft. The church is in normal use.

Visited by OS (JP) 7 July 1975

Project (February 2014 - July 2014)

A data upgrade project to record war memorials.



Dick Peddie & MacKay, Edinburgh

Attic 2, Bin 30, Bag 3 n/d

Dick Peddie & MacKay, Edinburgh

Misc. loose drawings, bundle 1 13 Young Street 1923


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