Isle of Man

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August, 2018

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The Isle of Man is well known for its beautifully carved Celtic and Viking crosses.

Early Christian missionaries arrived the C5th and early Christian burials were marked by a stone carved with a simple cross. Later crosses, like the beautiful wheel cross in Lonan Old Church were more elaborate with a wheel head and carved shaft.The Vikings arrived in the C9th and brought their Norse gods with them. Images of Norse gods and mythology appeared on the crosses. Some like Gaut’s Cross in Kirk Michael Church had Runic inscriptions with information about who made the cross, or who it was made for.  

Many of these crosses have survived around the original keeils and can be found in old churches around the island. Lonan cross is still standing in the churchyard where it was erected 1500 years ago. Most crosses have now been moved into the churches to protect them from the effects of weathering. There are good displays in “St Andrew’s Church”: Andreas, Braddan Old Church (kept locked but visiting can be arranged by contacting the vicar), “St Michael’s Church”: Kirk Michael and in the specially constructed cross house in “Kirk Maughold”: churchyard.

The crosses vary from a very simple cross hacked out of the stone to those covered with beautifully worked carving.

Each cross has a tiny bronze plate with a number. This identification system is based on the work done by PMC Kermode  at the start of the C20th. There are display panels and information for each. There are also replicas of all the crosses on display in the Manx Museum in Douglas.

There is information and pictures of where to find the crosses “here.”: here.


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