MHG39850 - Cross Slab, St. Thomas's Chapel, Skinnet 2


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Type and Period (1)

  • CROSS SLAB (Early Medieval - 561 AD to 1057 AD)

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Full Description

Standing some 6' out from the wall of the chapel and towards the W. end of it, is an upright slab measuring 4'11" in height above ground, 2' 9" in breadth, and 5" in thickness. On the W. face are the remains of an equal-limbed Celtic cross, with a central boss 2 1/2" in diameter from which the arms radiate. Only the upper arm remain at all perfect, the rest of the cross being almost effaced owing to the flaking of the surface of the stone. This arm expands upwards, and is 1' in length and 1' 3 1/2" broad at its outer end where it is convex in outline. It is surrounded by a single moulding, and contains a triquetra knot of interlaced ornament. At the point of intersection it is 2" in width.
Visited by RCAHMS, 13th August 1910

In 1861, a sculptured stone was found in St Thomas' Chapel, Skinnet. Thurso Museum now owns the slab, and it is restored to its complete state; Allen and Anderson (1903) states it was in 6 pieces in 1903 of sandstone, 2.3m x 0.66m x 0.18m, it was decorated on all four faces of which the left one is seriously defaced. Interlace panels cover the right edge, while the front bears an ornamented cross, a horse and a pair of serpentine creatures. Circular bosses lie between the arms of the cross. On the reverse another, less ornate cross, a triple oval (cf Keirs and Sandside) and the crescent and V-rod symbols.
Also from St Thomas's Church, Skinnet came an upright slab measuring 1.5m x 0.83m x 0.13m. It stands c.1.8m out from the S wall of the chapel. On one face are the remains of a Celtic cross, only the upper arm of which is perfect. The rest is almost entirely defaced by the flaking surface.
Information from R Jones 1980

Skinnet 2, Caithness (St Thomas), cross-slab
Measurements: H 1.5m, W 0.84m, D 0.13m
Stone type: hard sandstone
Place of discovery: ND 1309 6205
Present location: it stands about 1.8m from the S wall of St Thomas Chapel.
Evidence for discovery: known by 1910 when A O Curle recorded it for RCAHMS.
Present condition: very worn and subject to surface flaking, also covered in lichen.
An earthfast slab of irregular shape, one face has an encircled cross-of-arcs carved in low relief. The upper arm is filled with an interlace knot and traces of similar infilling may be detected in the left-hand arm (the other two are too badly eroded). There is a plain roundel at the intersection of the arms. The suggestion of a shaft may be the effect of relatively recent surface flaking, as it appears not to be present on James Ritchie’s photograph of 1906 (RCAHMS SC 676531).
Date range: eighth century.
References: RCAHMS 1911, no 93; Blackie & Macaulay 1998: no 13.
Compiled by A Ritchie 2016

See link to HES Canmore record below for sketches and photo of the cross slab.

Sources/Archives (6)



Grid reference Centred ND 1309 6204 (10m by 10m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND16SW
Civil Parish HALKIRK
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

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