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Campbell of Lerags' Cross,Kilbride

A Scheduled Monument in Oban North and Lorn, Argyll and Bute

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.3767 / 56°22'36"N

Longitude: -5.4709 / 5°28'15"W

OS Eastings: 185778

OS Northings: 725900

OS Grid: NM857259

Mapcode National: GBR DCWV.SXS

Mapcode Global: WH0GK.XZZD

Entry Name: Campbell of Lerags' Cross,Kilbride

Scheduled Date: 4 November 1927

Last Amended: 3 July 1995

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM247

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: cross (free-standing)

Location: Kilmore and Kilbride

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Oban North and Lorn

Traditional County: Argyllshire

Description

The monument consists of a free-standing cross, carved from a single block of schist, originally erected in 1516 by Archibald Campbell of Lerags, and re-erected at the present site in 1926, the broken pieces having formerly been in Kilbride churchyard.

The disc-headed cross stands 3.13m high above the modern base, and measures 0.69m across the arms. The sides are supported by metal straps. The front of the cross-head faces west and bears a carving of Christ crucified (unusually, with the IHS cipher) surrounded by foliage; below this, in 11 lines of black letter script, is the inscription: Archibaldus campbel de laerraig me fieri fecit ano dni mvxvi (Archibald Campbell of Lerags caused me to be made in the year of Our Lord 1516). Below the inscription is an interlace pattern and - very unusually - at the foot is a unicorn. The east face bears two foliage scrolls running up the shaft and, in the top arm of the cross, Archibald Campbell's coat of arms - seemingly the only surviving occurrence of heraldry on such a cross. The figure of Christ has a row of drill-holes across the forehead, one still containing the end of a bronze fixing set in lead, apparently the remains of a metal crown.

The cross is one of the products of the West Highland school of sculpture, but cannot be associated with any of the main identified centres of production; however, certain stylistic mannerisms suggest that it may have been the work of one Colinus (who signed a slab at Kilchrenan) or more likely of his father Angus.

The cross is said to have stood originally about 200m away, on a small mound called Bealach-an-t-sleuch-daidh, beside an old road running from the coast. It was cast down before 1700, when the three pieces it had been broken into are recorded as being used as grave markers in Kilbride chruchyard. The broken pieces were re-joined and the cross re-erected at the present site in 1926.

The area to be scheduled is a circle 2.5m in diameter, centred on the cross, as indicated in red on the accompanying map, to include the cross and its modern base.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a complete late medieval free-standing cross of the West Highland school of sculpture, one of only about ten complete examples known. Its importance is greatly enhanced by the inscription on its front, which dates it precisely, and the appearance of a number of unique or highly unusual features, such as the coat of arms. The evidence it provides can contribute to our understanding of social and ecclesiastical organisation, settlement patterns and the organisation of the sculptural profession in late-medieval Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS - NM 82 NE 14

RCAHMS 'Inventory of Argyll' Vol. 2 (lorn), 143.

Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot. Vol. 15 (1880-81), 254-7.

Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot. Vol. 61 (1926-7), 143-62.

Steer K. A. and Bannerman J. W., 'Late Medieval Monumental Sculpture in the West Highlands'.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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