Medieval

Kilmartin Church & Large Cross, Scotland

This is the last post on Kilmartin, Scotland 2016, for this year, hopefully we will return next year to visit the sites of a much earlier period than the stone crosses and churchyard of Kilmartin Church.   I have saved the best to last, well I think so, ‘The Large Cross’.  One of the most magnificent medieval stone crosses in the West Highlands.  Carved about 1200, on side is the robed Christ sitting with arms raised to show his wounds.  On the other side is the crucified Christ with a winged lion, symbol of St Mark, to his left, and angel for St Matthew above and a winged bull for St Luke below.

 

 

Taken from one of the notice boards……..This cross is undoubtedly one of the most magnificent of the great crosses carved in the Western Highlands in the Middle Ages.  Its form is unusual for the area, and the quadrant brackets which originally helped to support the widely projecting arms must have given it something of the appearance of a wheel-headed cross.  Until recent years only the shaft and side arm were known to survive, but in 1973 the upper arm was found built into a culvert.  The three pieces have been secured together in what is thought to have their correct relationship, with out attempting to replace the missing parts for which there is no evidence.

The cross originally stood 400 metres away, but was later moved to the Kilmartin graveyard.  The arm which was found in the culvert, was fixed back when the cross was brought inside.

The following photos are from a display inside the church.

The shaft and arm of the cross in the graveyard of Kilmartin Church.

The top arm of the cross replaced back onto the shaft.

The reserve side of the cross, once the top arm was fixed back to the shaft.

A little history on Kilmartin Parish Church………..On the site of earlier churches, the present building opened in 1835. The architect was James Gordon Davis. The church is Gothic in style with nave, aisles and a square tower. Three interesting memorial panels from the 18th and 19th centuries to members of the family of Campbell of Duntroon. The church has two outstanding early Christian crosses, with explanatory panels provided by Historic Scotland. The kirkyard contains the mausoleum of Bishop Neil Campbell and medieval tomb slabs. Extensive views over Bronze Age burial cairns, a photo shows one at the bottom of the page.

 

 

 

 

The Small Cross, Kilmartin, Scotland

Inside Kilmartin Church, Kilmartin, Scotland, there are three medieval crosses.  The Kilmartin Cross which I have posted about and two others, the Large Ring Cross and the Small Cross.  This post is about the Small Cross which stood in the graveyard from about the 1400’s.  Its style matches that of another cross, The Kilmichael Cross, which is displayed in the Kilmartin Museum next door. (I have also posted about this one)

The photo shows the cross in the churchyard where it had stood since 1400.  This fragment of cross is unusual in the curious volute forms which have been carved as angle brackets to support the side arms.  The representation of the crucified figure is perhaps rather stiff an crude, and does look very similar to the Kilmichael Cross.  Dating from the 1300’s or 1400’s it could be attributed to a group of stone carvers working in the area around Loch Awe.  All three cross stood in the graveyard, but have since been brought into the church to protect them from the elements.  A post on the Large Cross will follow shortly.

From a visit in 2016

The Antiquity of Kilmartin Churchyard, Scotland

 

Kilmartin Parish Church stands in the centre of  Kilmartin Glen, and just south down the glen, are a profusion of prehistoric remains, including a linear cemetery, numerous standing stones, and several sites with cup and ring carved rocks.  But for me, it was the graveyard and church that lured me in to explore this ancient site.   You can see the church from the road, and in 2014 we didn’t have time to visit, but in May of 2016, we did.  You know when you see sometime, and you hold your breath, think wow, this is going to be amazing, thats what I felt when we walked through the arch to explore.

I have already posted about some of the stones, those thought to be most at risk from weathering, under cover of a former mausoleum building at the rear of the churchyard, this post is of what is still in situ in the graveyard.

Together with the sub-circular form of the church graveyard, the stones hint at a much longer history of religious activity at Kilmartin, ranging in date from the 900’s to the 1600’s. 

 

 

 I think most of the mediaeval grave slabs in the raised enclosure, photos above, beautifully carved slabs that once covered the graves of members of the Malcolm family, are from St Columba’s Chapel in Poltalloch, which have been move to Kilmartin.  Many of the stones were the work of a group of sculptors working in the Loch Awe area through the 14th and 15th centuries.  The carvers may have had a workshop at Kilmartin itself or in the surrounding area.  The quality of the carvings of the highest order, and the designs are similar to others in the West Highlands, such as Kilberry, Keills, and Kilmory Knap.

I found an early Christian Stone with a cross very similar to the one I found on Tiree, a Hebridean Island, but as yet I haven’t found any information on it.

The above slabs are still in situ and have wonderful symbols on them.

I will post about the museum, church and the two remain stone crosses later.  It is worth a visit before going off down the Glen to visit the more well known sites.  

A Wedding, A Poorly Nipper & Newark Castle, Nottinghamshire

We went to Fareham in Hampshire for very special wedding, today 08.08.17, my fathers.  My father who is ninety, married his girlfriend of thirty-four years, his new wife is seventy-two.  The day was beautiful, even though we had some rain, it didn’t matter, the day just shone.  I just wanted to make a note of this special day……so I do not miss their first anniversary, I’m terrible at dates 🙂   Also my oldest dog Nipper is in the vets, we had to rush him there three days ago as he was really very poorly and we found out he has very bad diabetes.  The vets have had to try and level his blood, which we think they have done, although he is still very poorly, he is starting to respond, so fingers cross he will pull though.  Anyway we will continue with the real reason for this post…… Newark Castle in Nottinghamshire.  We visited last year 2016, we had passed Newark several times over the years, but this time we managed to stop.

Newark Castle and Gardens are lovely, formal gardens bordered by the remaining walls of Newark Castle which was partly destroyed in 1646 at the end of the English Civil War. The Castle has stood proudly on the banks of the River Trent for nearly 900 years.

A little history….

The castle’s foundations date back to Saxon times but it was developed as a castle by the Bishop of Lincoln in 1123. Known as the Gateway to the North, the castle endured numerous sieges during the Baronial and English Civil war before it was partially destroyed in 1646.  From the riverside the bulk of Newark Castle looks extremely impressive, looming above the water like a forbidding barrier. It is only when you approach from the town that you realise how ‘one-sided’ the structure is. For on the town side, there are almost no remaining walls, though the towers are still impressive.  

 

 

I also took a mixture of black & white, as the castle grounds are used for weddings and we counted three while we were there.  Although the weather was very cloudy, it was still warm day.

 

 

Splendid Pickering Castle, Yorkshire

 

In 2015 we made a visit to Pickering Castle, situated in Pickering, a small ancient market town in North Yorkshire.  Pickering is famous for being the home of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, which we had travelled on in the past, but ran out of time to visit the castle.  You catch intriguing glimpses of the castle from the train station, but it took two years to make a return visit and this time we ran of time to see the church……. Anyway back to the castle and a wonderful visit.

A little history………A splendid castle with a rich history, Pickering Castle served as a Northern base for a succession of medieval kings. Originally built after the Norman Conquest, the motte and bailey fortification were extensively developed throughout the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries. 
Largely unaffected by the Wars of the Roses and the Civil War, it remains in excellent condition, 
offering stunning views across the Ryedale countryside.

There are two unusual features to Pickering Castle. The first is simply that it has been so little altered since the original wooden castle was rebuilt in stone. The second unusual feature is the layout of the site. Most early Norman castles followed a similar motte and bailey plan, with a timber pallisade atop a high mound, or motte. The base of the motte was surrounded by a large earthwork enclosure, usually with a further timber pallisade on top of the earthen banks. This enclosed area was called the bailey. At Pickering the layout is different; there is not one bailey but two, and the motte with its stone keep stands between the two. The motte is striking, standing 20 metres high, with a base 60 metres in diameter.

Throughout the late medieval period no construction was carried out – and not much in the way of maintenance. In fact, just the opposite occurred, one castle constable, Sir Richard Cholmley, robbed stone from Pickering to build himself a fine new house at Roxby. The castle served no defensive purpose and was used as a prison and local courthouse. Since it was in no fit state as a defensive structure it played no part in the Civil War. The castle was sold into private hands under Cromwell’s Commonwealth government, but returned to the crown when Charles II was restored to the throne. It remained in crown hands until 1926 when it passed into government care. It is now looked after by English Heritage.

Romantic Castle Pickering, Yorkshire

We visited Pickering Castle in Yorkshire, 2015, and had a wonderful time exploring the extensive ruins.  There will be a post about the castle, but one photo I took reminded me of the water colours that artists use to paint of wonderful ruins covered in ivy. so this is my version but in black & white, with a tint of ancientness.