Manx Crosses

Some ancient Isle of Man Carved Stone Cross Images.

A small group of religious stones which are about half a mile from Marown Old Church (St Runius). They date from 400 to 700 A.D. and bear the sign of the Cross. It is a typical memorial cairn of the Irish type.

The stone setting usually marks a shrine at the burial place of an early Christian saint and no doubt became a preaching place and penitential station.

More popular tradition states that it was from this spot that St. Patrick preached and consequently any person who sits in the ‘chair’ and rests his back against the incised Cross will never feel fatigue.

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St Patricks Chair © Peter Killey - www.manxscenes.com

St Patricks Chair © Peter Killey - www.manxscenes.com

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(Manx National Heritage catalogued Cross No. 106)

This 10th Century cross-slab was found in the churchyard in 1891 and is the only Runic Cross to be found in Ballaugh to date.

The Cross is 4’6″ high and 20″ across the head and the stone is 3″ thick.

The cross shows features of the famous sculptor, Gaut and it’s weather worn runes testify that this cross was erected by Olaf Liotulfson in memory of Ulf, his son.

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Ballaugh Cross © Peter Killey - manxscenes.com

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(Manx National Heritage catalogued Cross No. 128)

The transition in the Viking world of Pagan beliefs to the final embrace of Christianity is depicted on this stone. The Vikings brought pagan religion to shores already believing in Christianity and for a short time, both creeds co-existed. But eventually, Christianity won.

One side of this stone shows the Norse god Odin (recognised by the raven on his shoulder, and weaving his famous spear) being devoured by Fenris the wolf at the Battle of Ragnorok – the fight against evil and the end of the world for the Norse deities. The other side is filled with Christian symbolism – a figure with a book and a cross, by a fish and a defeated serpent.

This stone is not only a ‘page-turn’ from pagan to Christian beliefs, it also has that rarest of things – the name of the person who was responsible. Down one side, written in ancient Norse runes, is the inscription ‘Thorwald raised this cross’.

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Thorwald's Cross - © Peter Killey - manxscenes.com

Thorwald’s Cross – Front

Thorwald's Cross - © Peter Killey - manxscenes.com

Thorwald’s Cross – Rear

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This Post is for Eleanor and Michael Wasley.

(Manx National Heritage catalogued Cross No. 73)

The most spectacular of all of the crosses in the church yard of St. Adamnan’s, still stands in it’s original position at the south side of the church. It stands at 5 feet high (not over 9 feet as described on many websites!) and more than 3 feet across and has a large equal limbed Celtic wheel head cross that is almost completely covered in interlacing, knot work and plait work designs. This stone dates from the 9th or even the 10th century.

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Celtic Wheel Headed Cross © Peter Killey - www.manxscenes.com

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