MHG8843 - Carved stone, Rosemarkie No. 6 - Rosemarkie church graveyard


Carved in relief on a largely unshaped boulder is an equal-armed cross superimposed on a broad ring. The stone may have been set in the wall of the church directly behind the altar. If so, the uncarved parts surrounding the ringed cross would have hidden by plaster. Discovered in the churchyard and presented to the NMS in 1885.

Type and Period (3)

  • CARVED STONE (Pictish to Early Medieval - 300 AD to 1057 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT? (Pictish to Early Medieval - 300 AD to 1057 AD)
  • CROSS? (Pictish to Early Medieval - 300 AD to 1057 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

No. 6. A fragment of what may be the head of a Class 3 cross, measuring 14.75ns x 11.5ins, and bearing on one face an equal-armed Latin cross in a circle. Found in the churchyard, and donated to the RMS(NMAS) by Rev C Macdowall in 1885 ( IB 128).
NMAS, 1892; RCAHMS 1979.

Rosemarkie 6, Ross & Cromarty, possible architectural carved stone
Measurements: H 0.30m, W 0.36m, D 0.18m
Stone type: sandstone
Place of discovery: NH 7372 5763
Present location: National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh (IB 128), on loan to Groam House Museum.
Evidence for discovery: found in the churchyard at Rosemarkie and given to the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland in 1885.
Present condition: good.
Carved in relief on this largely unshaped boulder is an equal-armed cross superimposed on a broad ring. The stone appears to have been trimmed to fit the lower part of the ring, and the intention may have been to trim it all round and to insert it into the wall of a church. The cross is outlined by an inner incised line, and there is a large hollow encircled by a line in the centre of the cross, with smaller encircled hollows in each arm. The Hendersons suggest that these hollows may have held inlays. At the base of the lower arm is a short triangular tenon.
Date: eighth or ninth century.
References: Henderson & Henderson 2004, 210-11; Seright & Henderson 2013, 12.
Ealry Medieval Carved Stones Project, A Ritchie 2017. <1>

This fragment was found in Rosemarkie churchyard, presumably while digging a grave. It was presented to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland by the Reverend Charles Macdowall (Parish minister, Rosemarkie) in 1885 through Major Colin Mackenzie, F.S.A., of Flowerburn, Rosemarkie. It is not included in ECMS but was recorded in 1935 by W. Douglas Simpson, and RCAHMS in 1979. The boulder is sculpted on one face only with an equal-armed cross contoured with a moulding. The cross is superimposed on a broad ring which extends beyond the terminals of the arms. The spaces between the hollowed armpits and the ring are cut away. One arm ends with a diagrammatic triangular projection, depicting either a small spike for insertion on the bottom arm of the cross, or a decorative boss on the top arm. The centre of the cross has a deeply cut hole (diameter 20 mm) surrounded by a moulding, and there is a similar, smaller hole in the middle of each of the arms. The boulder is similar to cross-marked boulders found in Aberdeenshire and on Iona where they have been interpreted as gravemarkers, but they could equally well have been used, set upright, as devotional crosses. <2>

Note; Precise find spot not known so indicative find area only (T.Blackie 3/3/2021).

Sources/Archives (5)



Grid reference Centred NH 7373 5760 (4m by 4m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH75NW
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY

Finds (1)

  • CARVED OBJECT (Early Medieval - 561 AD to 1057 AD)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (1)

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.