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Monuments: R

1. Ruthwell

RecordAuthor Orla Murphy
ISODate 2002-06-10
Date 12 June 2002
PictureCredit Jane Hawkes
County Dumfriesshire
Townland Ruthwell
OSMapRef NV 103681 (310330, 568180)
Area Scotland
GeneralContext General View of Cross (front)
Location Church of Ruthwell
GeneralContext Stone type: Red Sandstone
Dimensions 17' high, shaft is 1'9'' wide at bottom and 1'1'' at the top, the head of the cross is 3'1'' wide, and the top arm is 9'' wide, the thickness is 1'6'' at the bottom to 9'' at the top.
GeneralDescription The Ruthwell Cross has sculpture on its four faces and incised capitals and runic inscriptions round the panels on the four faces.
GeneralDescription Front of the Cross: the top arm of the Cross head has a man and a bird. St John the Evangelist and his symbol the eagle.
GeneralDescription The left arm has a beast with a long tail, and the right arm has a beast with wings. The bottom arm has an archer shooting an arrow up into the air.
GeneralDescription The top of the shaft depicts two figures saluting each other. (?)Visitation Scene. There is a fragmentary runic inscription 'marþa' (left border) and 'dominæ' (right border)
GeneralDescription Below this Mary Magdalene is washing the feet of Jesus (New Testament, John 12:3). The inscription reads '+ A[TT]V[LIT ALA]B[A]STRUM: V[NGVE]NTI: & S[T]AN[S R]E[TR]O SECUS PEDES :EIVS LACRIMIS : COEPIT RIGARE : PEDES EIVS : & CAPILLIS :CPITIS SVI TERGEBAT'. Luke 7: 37-38. 'She brought an alabaster box of ointment; and standing behind, (beside) his feet, she began to moisten his feet with her tears and with the hairs of her own head she wiped (them)'. (trans. Okasha)
GeneralDescription Next is the miracle of Jesus healing the blind man (see New Testament, Mark 7:31, 10:46, Luke 18:35, or John 9:1). Inscription reads '+ ET PRAETERIENS : VIDI[T HOMINEM CAECUM] A NATIBIATE : ET S[ANAVIT EUM...]'
GeneralDescription At the bottom of the shaft is the Annunciation (New Testament Luke 1:28). Inscription reads: ' [et] INGRESSUS EST A[NGELUS]'.
GeneralDescription At the base there is a cross and figures, Crucifixion.
GeneralDescription Back of the Cross: on the top arm of the Cross there is a bird perched on a vine.
GeneralDescription On the bottom arm there are two figures, the one on the right is holding a book.
GeneralDescription At the top of the shaft John the Baptist is standing on two globes and holding the Agnus Dei in his left hand. inscription very damaged: '[A]DORAMUS'.
GeneralDescription Below this Christ over two beasts, Christ as Judge, recognised by beasts in the desert. Inscription reads: ' [+] IHS X[PS] IUD[E]X [:A]EQV[IT]A[TI]S:BESTIAE : ET: DRACON[ES] : COGNOUERVNT : IN DE:SERTO : SALVA[TO]REM: MUNDI: +' . Jesus Christ the judge of equity. The beasts and serpents recognised the Saviour of the world in the desert'. (trans. Okasha).
GeneralDescription Beneath this Saints Paul and Anthony are breaking bread in the desert. The inscription reads '+ SCS: PAVLVS : ET: A[ntonius]...FREGERVNT PANEM IN DESERTO'.
GeneralDescription At the bottom of the shaft there is the figure of Mary seated on an ass with the Christ child on her lap, advancing from right to left.
GeneralDescription Right side: the shaft is divided into two panels containing scroll foliage with birds and beasts involved in the scrolls and eating the fruit.
GeneralDescription Left side: the shaft is divided into two panels. These contain scroll foliage with birds and beasts involved in the scrolls and eating the fruit.

  1. Stuart, J., The Sculptured Stones of Scotland1st, Spalding Club, Aberdeen and Edinburgh (1856-1867) Stone, Sculpture, Scotland, History, Archaeology.
  2. Allen, J. R., Anderson, J., The Early Christian Monuments of Scotland1st, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Edinburgh (1903) Descriptions, Stone, Sculpture, Monuments, Scotland.