MHG745 - Cross-slab, Reay Parish Church


c.C7-C8 Pictish sculptered cross.

Type and Period (1)

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

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

NB see NC96SE110 for another Pictish cross slab, still in old parish kirk - HAW 2/2003

See also:
NC96SE0001 Church
JHooper, 13/01/2001

The fragment was built into S wall of Reay parish church before being donated to NMAS and could be the fragment found during construction of power station (centred NC 98 67). It is decorated on all 4 sides in flat relief; front - a cross; the right - various beasts; left - spiral; back - a stag and interlace.
A Jackson 1984.

A Pictish sculptured stone, a square sandstone pillar 35.5ins high and c9ins wide, and not likely to be later than 8th century, was found 1947, built into S wall of Reay parish church, and was donated to NMAS (Acc No: IB 267). Lower part of shaft is missing. It may be part of a cross-shaft, or a completely new type of monument, a squared pillar-stone. (See NC96SE 3)
R B K Stevenson 1952; Info from NMAS Accession Card Index.

Reay 2 (St Colman), Caithness, cross-slab/squared pillar-stone
Measurements: H 0.90m, W 0.23m, D 0.23m
Stone type: reddish sandstone
Place of discovery: NC 9673 6482
Present location: National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh (X.IB 267)
Evidence for discovery: found in 1947 built into the S wall of Reay parish church.
Present condition: worn and damaged, truncated at base, with a dowel hole cut into face C.
This slab is unusual for a cross-slab in its dimensions, the width and depth being equal. The top of the slab has secondary chiselling. Carved in low relief, face A bears a cross with a square expansion at the top, the whole outlined by a narrow roll moulding and filled with diagonal key patter, face B is carved with a plain oval at the top, with below a hound ‘snapping at the stag round the corner’ (Stevenson 1950), below again a horned animal possibly with a bell round its neck, below which is a seated or kneeling cow, all three facing right. The horned animal and the cow have crudely incised spiral joints. Below the cow is a horse trotting to the left. Face C is carved with, at the top, an antlered stag facing right, above a panel of single-strand interlace framed by a flat band moulding. Face D bears three well-executed running spirals and another motif has been chiselled away at the top.
Date range: eighth century.
References: Stevenson 1950; Blackie & Macaulay 1998: no 21.
Compiled by A Ritchie, Early medieval Carved Stones Project, 2016

This cross shaft is listed in the NMS catalogue under Acc. No. IB 267. <1>

Sources/Archives (5)



Grid reference Centred NC 9672 6481 (10m by 10m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC96SE
Civil Parish REAY
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

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