Ancient Monuments

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Netherton Cross, cross, Hamilton Old Parish Kirk

A Scheduled Monument in Hamilton North and East, South Lanarkshire

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Latitude: 55.7764 / 55°46'35"N

Longitude: -4.0368 / 4°2'12"W

OS Eastings: 272342

OS Northings: 655555

OS Grid: NS723555

Mapcode National: GBR 017N.V4

Mapcode Global: WH4QW.Y2WK

Entry Name: Netherton Cross, cross, Hamilton Old Parish Kirk

Scheduled Date: 16 November 1933

Last Amended: 10 November 2016

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM1143

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Hamilton

County: South Lanarkshire

Electoral Ward: Hamilton North and East

Traditional County: Lanarkshire


The monument is a free-standing carved cross of red sandstone probably dating from around AD 900 – 1100 and is a rare example of ecclesiastical sculpture from the former British early medieval kingdom of Strathclyde.  The cross stands to a height of about 2.1m and is decorated on all four sides with figurative scenes of humans and beast-headed beings, animals and panels of interlace and geometric pattern. The cross is slotted into a modern concrete base. The cross is said to have originally stood in Hamilton Low Parks but was moved to its current location in the yard of Hamilton Parish Church in 1926.

The scheduled area is square on plan to include the remains described above and the concrete base for its protection and preservation as shown in red on the accompanying map. The monument was last scheduled in 1933 but the documentation did not meet current standards. The present scheduling rectifies this.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The cultural significance of the monument is expressed as follows:

Intrinsic Characteristics

The carvings of this substantial and red sandstone cross are slightly worn but it is still possible to make them out and, apart from some minor lichen growth, the cross is in reasonable condition. It stands upright in a modern concrete base which displays an inscription explaining that the cross was re-erected at its current location in March 1926. There is documentary and cartographic evidence to indicate that the cross's original location was in Hamilton Low Parks, around 1.2km to the north-northwest.

The style of the cross suggests that it dates from AD 900 – 1100. It belongs to an important series of sculpture from the former British early medieval kingdom of Strathclyde. This group of sculpture is probably the least familiar of all Scotland's early Christian monuments and further research of the motifs on Netherton cross could enhance our understanding of its full range of meanings, both secular and religious. Crosses such as this may have acted as focal points in worship, but could have also been a public statement about the beliefs of religious communities and aristocratic patrons. 

Contextual Characteristics

The cross is a rare example of ecclesiastical sculpture from the former British early medieval kingdom of Strathclyde and one of only three complete free-standing crosses from this period. The others are Barochan Cross (SM90029), now located in Paisley Cathedral, and Govan Cross (SM10393). Today, Netherton Cross is located in the ecclesiastical setting of Hamilton Parish Church.

The documented original location of the cross in Hamilton Low Parks lies 60m to the north of a motte (SM10726). Although the ground between the two sites is separated today by the M74 motorway, it would have been a flat area of ground located around 200m west of the River Clyde. This site has long been thought to be the site of the 'old toun of Cadzow' (the original name for Hamilton) and documentary evidence indicates the existence of a church of Cadzow by 1150 with which the cross may have been associated. The motte is likely to have been the royal residence in which both David I (1124-53) and Alexander III (1249-86) held court and this may have been the associated centre of lordly patronage.  

Associative Characteristics

The monument reflects earlier medieval cultural influences, such as the preference among those of high status to associate themselves with the church through patronage of artistic works, whilst also allowing the conspicuous display of wealth and resources.


National importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding and appreciation of early medieval sculpture and its role in contemporary religious practices and secular life. Netherton  Cross is a rare example of ecclesiastical sculpture from the former British early medieval kingdom of Strathclyde and is only one of three complete free-standing crosses from this period. Although re-located in 1926, the original location of the stone and its context is well documented and this enhances our understanding of its cultural significance. The monument represents part of a group of sculpture that is highly significant for our understanding of the kingdom of Strathclyde before the 12th century. Damage to or loss of the stone would significantly impede our ability to understand the early medieval society that produced it.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 45656 (accessed on 21/06/2016).

The West of Scotland Archaeology Service Historic Environment Record reference is 9771 (accessed on 21/06/2016).

The Netherton Cross, Hamilton – leaflet available online at

Allen and Anderson, J. R. and J. (1903) The early Christian monuments of Scotland: a classified illustrated descriptive list of the monuments with an analysis of their symbolism and ornamentation, Edinburgh, 3, 471-2

Stevenson, R. B. K. (1961) The Inchyra Stone and some other unpublished early Christian monuments , Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 92, 49-51.

Stuart, J. (1856) Sculptured stones of Scotland,1 Aberdeen 36, 118.


HER/SMR Reference


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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