Celtic Cross

Lochgilphead War Memorial & Celtic Cross, Loch Fyne, Scotland

We have passed through Lochgilphead, on Loch Fyne, Scotland, quite a few times and I always wonder about the cross at the end of the road, in the above photo you can see it in the distance.  The celtic cross always looks older to me, but it would seem it was erected in 1921.  Although the celtic cross is not of a great age, its still interesting to learn the history and in May 2016, I managed to take some photos from the car as we were passing by.

Some history………The Lochgilphead war memorial is a square pedestal of unusual design with decorative medallions carved with celtic designs and battle honours on the four faces at the upper corners. The pedestal stands on a low circular stepped base and is surmounted by a rustic celtic cross carved in freestone with boss and wheel-head. The commemoration and names of the WWI dead are listed on a bronze panel set into the face of the pedestal. The commemoration and names of the WWII dead are carried on two smaller bronze panels set into the face of two low stone pillars which flank the pedestal.
The monument stands at the junction at the head of the main street, on the sea front overlooking Loch Fyne.
The monument was erected by Glasgow monumental sculptors Messrs. Scott Rae, the daybook entry reads:
Order No. 5805, Lochgilphead, Grey cross, Erected May 1921.

Kilmartin Cross, Kilmartin Church, Scotland

Inside the parish church of Kilmartin, Scotland, which we visited in May 2016, there are three wonderful ancient stone crosses, this post is about the early Christian cross called ‘ The Kilmartin Cross’, which was created in about AD 900.  It has short cross-arms and is intricately carved with a diagonal key pattern.  At its centre is an unusual curled diagonal cross, with almond-shaped frames above and below.  The cross was found laying in the churchyard in 1860, with one of the arms snapped off.  The cross was re-erected near the entrance and was brought inside in 1977.  There is a black and white photo of the cross when it was standing near the entrance to the church.  Also there is a front and back to the cross, as according to the information board below, one side was later decorated to fit the broken shape, as you can see in the photo following the information board.   The next post will be about ‘The Large Cross’.


The Thief’s Cross, Kildalton, Isle of Islay, Scotland


We had a little rest from visiting distilleries on Islay, well I did, husband would have kept going, but I wanted to visit Kildalton, which is not that far from the distilleries we were visiting on the south coast of Islay, in May 2016.  I had read about the wonderful Great Cross of Kildalton and the old parish church full of the most marvellous tomb slabs, and how I actually visited three distilleries before I got there, is a wonder all of is own.  When we arrived, after driving on one of the most beautiful roads on the island, I was out of the car like a shot.  As I turned to look at the view, I saw a cross on its own, a little further up the hill, with a rusty old fence around it.  As we were the only ones on the site, I thought I had better take photos of the main site before any coaches turned up, which unfortunately they tend to do.  I was right, just as I finished, two coaches arrived and out tumbled vast amounts of sightseers.  I then walked up the hill and studied the cross, much smaller than the main cross, but still carved, not as old as the main one, but still, maybe 15th century, although there was nothing to inform me.  I took some photos and then we were back on the distillery hunt.


I have now found out, that this late medieval cross has two names, ‘The Kildalton Small Cross’ and ‘The Thief’s Cross’  The reason for the second name, as the cross is outside of the churchyard on non-consecrated ground, a story has evolved that it’s the grave of a criminal.  More likely it was erected by a wealthy Lord as a private shrine in about the 1300 to 1400’s.  It might not be anywhere near the age of the Great Cross, but there was just something about it, almost as if it was standing, guarding the larger cross.




St John’s Cross, Iona, Scotland


The last of my Celtic Crosses of Iona’s Abbey is St John’s Cross, which is a replica, the original is in the abbey museum.   It was once one of the widest crosses known in the British Isles.  The cross was carved over 1200 years ago and the carvers wanted to make something large and wonderful, but they over did it and it kept toppling over.  In 1927 the pieces were stuck together, but only lasted until 1957, when the remains were removed to the museum.  A replica was made in 1970 and is made of concrete.




The Two Faces of St Martin’s Cross, Iona, Scotland

DSC_0173 - Version 2

St Martin’s Cross has two faces, east and west.  The above photo is the east side with carvings of bosses and serpents and the west side has Biblical scenes carved into the stone.


St Martin’s Cross has been standing in its original location for more than 1200 years.  Carved from a single slab of grey epidiorite in the mid to late 8th century, it’s the most perfect of the surviving crosses on Iona.

From our visit 2013


The west side


DSC_0125 - Version 2

St Kevin’s Celtic Cross, Glendalough, Ireland

DSC_0699 - Version 2

St Kevin’s Cross at Glendalough, Ireland, this was the only photo that I took of the cross, which, due to down pours, I’m amazed it wasn’t one big blob.  I’ve had a play around with it, thought I might go b & w, but I like the red of the plant next to the cross.  This is a big cross and apparently if you can reach round it with both arms, it’s suppose to bring you luck (not for me as I didn’t read about that until later, typical of me )

A little about the cross ……This large undecorated cross is known as St Kevin’s Cross, this monolith of granite stands 3.7 metres high and is a Celtic cross with a ring or circle around the arms.  From the cross the boundary wall of an earlier cemetery can be traced.