Ancient Monuments

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Kirkcolm cross-slab, Ervie-Kirkcolm Parish Church churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Stranraer and the Rhins, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 54.9737 / 54°58'25"N

Longitude: -5.0841 / 5°5'2"W

OS Eastings: 202711

OS Northings: 568696

OS Grid: NX027686

Mapcode National: GBR FHTK.HZM

Mapcode Global: WH1QV.W76X

Entry Name: Kirkcolm cross-slab, Ervie-Kirkcolm Parish Church churchyard

Scheduled Date: 1 November 2002

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM10512

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: cross slab

Location: Kirkcolm

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Stranraer and the Rhins

Traditional County: Wigtownshire


The monument comprises Kirkcolm cross-slab (alternatively known as Kirkholm, Kilmorie Chapel or Corsewall cross-slab). This remarkable early medieval carved stone is today located in the churchyard of Ervie-Kirkcolm Parish Church in Kirkcolm village, where it is mounted on a modern plinth in the E angle immediately outside the church.

This cross-slab has been moved several times. Its earliest known site was at the Chapel of Kilmorie (NC 0339 6583), which was destroyed probably during the Reformation. In 1719 the stone was removed to Old Kirkcolm Parish Church (NX 0306 6885) and re-used as a lintel over the W door during repairs. When this church was demolished in 1821, the cross-slab was transferred to the garden E of Corsewall House (NX 0324 6902). The cross-slab was originally scheduled in 1925, when it was in the garden of Corsewall House. It was (incorrectly) thought to have been moved inside Ervie-Kirkcolm Church in 1988 and to be in the care of Stranraer Museum, as a result of which it was descheduled in 1994. It is being rescheduled now because this important stone is in fact sited outside the church and the local museum has no role in its maintenance.

The cross-slab almost certainly dates to some time between the eighth and tenth centuries and displays a mix of stylistic influences, including Norse (Scandinavian). One face is incised with a crude representation of a Byzantine-type Christ being crucified on a hammer-headed cross, beneath which is another figure, with two stylised birds to the left and a pair of smith's tongs and possibly an anvil to the right. The imagery of birds and smith's tools betrays Scandinavian influences by conjuring up a famous character in Scandinavian mythology: the legendary hero, Sigurd the dragon-slayer, who was aided by his brother, Regin the smith.

The other face is divided into three principle fields of ornament. At the top it bears an equal-armed cross, carved in relief, set on a pedestal. This cross is considerably more accomplished than that on the other face, with rounded hollow angles and a central boss, and it is filled with foliaceous scrollwork. The second field is a plain rectangle, unadorned except for a small incised Latin cross. The lowermost field of ornament (which forms the shaft) bears two horns with a coiled-up serpent between them, all carved in relief, beneath which are another two serpents forming interlacing designs. This face seems to betray Northumbrian influences. It is highly likely that the two faces were carved by different craftsmen, probably at different times.

The area proposed for scheduling is square in plan, measuring 1.8m by 1.8m, centred on the cross-slab, as marked in red on the accompanying map. The ground surface around the cross-slab and beneath the modern plinth is excluded from the scheduling.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland


No Bibliography entries for this designation

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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