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Reay, Old Parish Church, Cross-slab

Cross Slab (Early Medieval)

Site Name Reay, Old Parish Church, Cross-slab

Classification Cross Slab (Early Medieval)

Canmore ID 7351

Site Number NC96SE 3.01

NGR NC 9691 6483

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/7351

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Reay
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Caithness
  • Former County Caithness

Early Medieval Carved Stones Project

Reay 1 St Colman), Caithness, cross-slab

Measurements: H 1.93m, W 0.70m, D 0.09m

Stone type: grey sandstone

Place of discovery: NC 9691 6483

Present location: set into the W wall of the old parish church at Reay.

Evidence for discovery: found in the adjacent burial ground, re-used for an 18th century grave. Sometime before 1910 it was moved into its present position, and at some date in the late 20th century the inscription was inexpertly obliterated.

Present condition: very worn and damaged.

Description

The slab was shaped to form a rounded top and was apparently carved on one side only. The cross, carved in relief, fills the available space within a narrow roll moulding, which does not continue above the top edge of the horizontal arms. The cross-head has a triple ring and the small, almost closed, armpits contain single pellets. The horizontal arms are shorter than the upper arm and are filled with key pattern. The decoration in the upper arm is largely removed, except for traces above the central roundel which suggest that it was filled with interlace pattern. The roundel is badly damaged but within a roll moulding are traces of a quadruple spiral. The short shaft is filled with a single-strand interlace pattern and the base with a key pattern.

Date: ninth or tenth century.

Desk-based information compiled by A Ritchie 2016

Archaeology Notes

NC96SE 3.01 9691 6483

Set into the W wall of the old church is a sculptured rectangular sandstone cross-slab, 6ft 4ins long, 1ft 11ins to 2ft 3 1/2ins wide and 3 1/2ins thick. The upper arm of the cross is defaced by an 18th century inscription.

J R Allen and J Anderson 1903

Set into the W. wall of the remains of the old church, towards its N. end, is a rectangular slab of grey sandstone 6' 4" in length, 2' 3 1/2" in width at the top, 1' 11" width at the bottom, and 3 1/2" thick. It is sculptured in relief on one face thus:- In the centre of the slab a cross with square ends to the arms, round hollows in the angles, and a ring connecting them together; a short shaft and a rectangular base the whole width of the stone. The ornament on the cross is arranged in five different divisions, the central boss being marked by a change in the pattern. The ornament on the left and right arms and on the base is a key pattern, on the shaft circular knot work; on the top arm the pattern is defaced by modern inscription - ROBERT MCKAY 17. The stone, till recently, stood in the old burial-ground over an eighteenth-century grave.

Visited by RCAHMS, 16th September 1910

The cross presumably dates from the latter part of the 9th century (see also NC96SE 1).

E W MacKie 1975.

Activities

Field Visit (16 September 1910)

Set into the W. wall of the remains of the old church, towards its N. end, is a rectangular slab of grey sandstone 6' 4" in length, 2' 3 1/2" in width at the top, 1' 11" width at the bottom, and 3 1/2" thick. It is sculptured in relief on one face thus:- In the centre of the slab a cross with square ends to the arms, round hollows in the angles, and a ring connecting them together; a short shaft and a rectangular base the whole width of the stone. The ornament on the cross is arranged in five different divisions, the central boss being marked by a change in the pattern. The ornament on the left and right arms and on the base is a key pattern, on the shaft circular knot work; on the top arm the pattern is defaced by modern inscription - ROBERT MCKAY 17. The stone, till recently, stood in the old burial-ground over an eighteenth-century grave.

Visited by RCAHMS, 16th September 1910

Field Visit (23 November 1964)

The burial panels mentioned above (in NC96SE 3.00), are still in situ and the cross-slab has been restored.

Visited by OS (R D) 23 November 1964.

Reference (1975)

E W MacKie 1975.

References

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