MHG10761 - Farr Stone


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Type and Period (1)

  • CROSS SLAB (CULTURE 300; CULTURE 900; , Pictish - 300 AD to 900 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

NMRS Notes:
NC76SW 11 7142 6225. Cross (NR). OS 6"map, (1964)

An upright cross-slab standing in graveyard of former parish church which was built in 1774 but which stands on site of its predecessor, mentioned 1223-1245. That the ecclesiastical origins are older still is indicated by Celtic decoration of cross-slab, which is of blue schistose slate, 7ft 6ins high, 2ft wide and 9ins thick, sculptured in relief on one face only. The main element is a ringed cross with 'arm-pits' and a central boss, springing from a semi-circular base within which are two intertwined birds. There are also panels of key-pattern and interlacing infill.
The Clachan Burn previously formed an island between the present channel and graveyard which was known as 'Eilan tigh an t-Sagairt', Island of the Priest's House; and stone (NC76SW 19) is said to have been boundary of the Priest's Croft (Morrison 1883).
Orig Paroch Scot 1855; H Morrison 1883; J Anderson and J R Allen 1903; RCAHMS 1911, visited 1909.

The stone was Scheduled in 1925.

The cross-slab is as described. The site of the Priest's House was not located. Visited by OS (J L D) 28 April 1960.

Cross-slab surveyed at 1:2500. Visited by OS (R L) 6 July 1971.

The cross slab is still in situ. The church has been restored and is now a museum. Said to be known as 'St Columba's Church' (Info from Strthnaver Museum pamphlet, Bettyhill, Sutherland). Visited by OS (N K B) 2 August 1977.

Mr George Hay states that he has recorded this to some extent.

The stone was subject to a condition survey by Historic Scotland in 2000. <1>

Farr, Sutherland, cross-slab
Measurements: H 2.29m, W 0.62m, D 0.23m
Stone type: blue schistose slate
Place of discovery: NC 7142 6225
Present location: in situ in graveyard at east end of church (now Strathnaver Museum), facing east.
Evidence for discovery: recorded by Stuart around 1850.
Present condition: some wear but mostly good.
This sophisticated monument bears carving on one broad face only. The slab has been carefully dressed to a rectangle with a plain flat-topped pediment with sloping concave sides. Face A is heavily carved in relief within a plain border, the whole dominated by a ringed cross on a D-shaped pedestal. The ornamentation is dense and elaborate but lightened by plain spaces between the arms of the cross and by panels on either side of the shaft containing airy spiralwork. At the top is a panel of diagonal key pattern within a plain and narrow roll moulding. The cross fills the width of the slab and its upper arm touches the top panel. It has rectangular terminals and widely rounded armpits, and a central raised boss carved with a fat triple spiral. Small triple spirals link the boss with the squares of key pattern in the terminals of the upper and side arms. The squares of key pattern can also be read as crosses. The lower arm, shaft and ring are filled with interlace. The basal pedestal has a border of interlace within which is a D-shaped panel enclosed by a narrow roll moulding and containing two swan-like birds, their necks entwined. The cords of the spiralwork on either side of the shaft become space-filling tight interlace above and below, and similar interlace fills the spaces beside the upper ring of the cross. Below the base of the cross is a densely packed panel of key pattern. The basal portion of the slab is hidden below ground.
Date: ninth or tenth century.
References: Stuart 1856, pl 35; ECMS pt 3, 53-4.
Early Medieval Carved Stones Project, A Ritchie 2016 <2>

The Scheduling name was amended by Historic Environment Scotland with effect from 12/04/2023. <3>

See also:
NC76SW0049 Farr Old Church
NC76SW0067 Graveyard
NC76SW0048 Farr Manse
J Aitken : 17/12/02

Sources/Archives (37)



Grid reference Centred NC 7142 6225 (10m by 10m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC76SW
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish FARR

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