Inveraray Cross

Inveraray Cross, Plate XXXI, Sculptured Stones of Scotland, Vol. 2, 1856.
Inveraray Cross, Plate XXXI, Sculptured Stones of Scotland, Vol. 2, 1856.

At Inveraray there is a beautiful Cross, which is well known to tourists, but which (so far as I know) has not been the object of much antiquarian research. It is commonly said to have been brought from Iona; but I never met with any historical proof that this was the case. The stone crosses and sculptured tombstones in Argyllshire are commonly called Iona Crosses and Iona Stones; and it is a prevailing belief that they were all brought from that celebrated place of sepulture. But as to the Crosses,– it can be proved that some of them never came from Iona; and if all the tombstones of the same character were collected there, they would far more than fill even S. Oran’s burying-ground. I have little doubt that the Inveraray Cross stood in the old town, near the old chapel. It was, until late years, lying at the entrance of the great beech-avenue; and it is now erected on the edge of the Loch, at the end of the main street. In shape it might be called a cross-flory. The upper part of the south side is overrun with foliage, moving in very capricious lines and passing below into a trefoiled arch, which seems to have been meant for a figure or inscription. Below this is a complicated arrangement of similar foliage, falling into two divisions, the stems of which become the tails of two fantastic animals. Under these animals are four others, on one side a pig and a dog, on the other apparently a larger and a smaller monkey. Under them again is a horseman; and at the base of all a rectangular space inclosing the end of the inscription, which with its earlier portion covers the west side of the Cross. This inscription is as follows in Lombardic characters.

Haec. est. crux. nobilium. vivorum. videlicet. Dondcani.
M’Engyllichomghan. Patrici. filii. ejus. et. Maelmore.
filii. Patrici. qui. hanc. crucem. fieri. faciebat.

I believe nothing is known of the personages here mentioned. I once saw a curious paper in possession of one of the parish school children, containing a translation in English, French, Gaelic, and Greek, where Mc Eichgyllichomghan is turned into Cunningham: but I apprehend this is merely a conjecture. It is to be observed that the leaves in the foliage are mostly double, a larger and smaller; and this is the character of the ornament of the east side. The north side is covered with foliage of a different and still more beautiful character.

Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Argyllshire, No. V. Stone Crosses,
Transactions of the Cambridge Camden Society
,  1841.


Published by Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organised the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Personal queries should be directed to me at eccentricbliss dot com.

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