Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Earl's Cross, carved stone, Dornoch

A Scheduled Monument in East Sutherland and Edderton, Highland

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Latitude: 57.887 / 57°53'13"N

Longitude: -4.0181 / 4°1'5"W

OS Eastings: 280440

OS Northings: 890404

OS Grid: NH804904

Mapcode National: GBR J7GW.659

Mapcode Global: WH4DN.71V2

Entry Name: Earl's Cross, carved stone, Dornoch

Scheduled Date: 10 June 1998

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM7672

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: sculptured stone (not ascribed to a more specific type)

Location: Dornoch

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: East Sutherland and Edderton

Traditional County: Sutherland


This monument consists of a free-standing stone approximately 2.2m high. The head is much eroded and its original form, probably not a cross, is unclear. The head is now oval in shape with a triangular hole through it.

Around the shaft runs a broad band with a shield on each side, possibly showing the arms of the Earls of Sutherland and of Caithness, both now badly eroded. The function of the stone is not clear but it may possibly have commemorated some significant event, have marked the boundary of a land holding or have been a cross marking the edge of a sanctury.

The area to be scheduled is a circle of 5m diameter centred on the cross. Excluded from the scheduling is that part of the surrounding fence which is above the ground surface. The area is marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

This monument is of national importance as a rare type of secular monument. Both its form and its isolated position mark it out as being an exceptional monument. As such, it represents one element of the wide range of Scottish medieval monumental sculpture.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NH 89 SW 2.


Cordiner, C. (1780) Antiquities and scenery of the north of Scotland, in a series of letters to Thomas Pennant, 70, Esq. London.

Cordiner, C. (1788) Remarkable Ruins, and Romantic Prospects, of North Britain, London.

OPS (1855) Origines Parochiales Scotiae: the antiquities ecclesiastical and territorial of the parishes of Scotland, Vol. 2, 2, 647, Edinburgh.

Pococke, R. (1887) Tours in Scotland 1747, 1750, 1760, in Kemp, D. W., 167, Edinburgh.

RCAHMS (1911) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Second report and inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of Sutherland, 50-1, No. 146, Edinburgh.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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