Ruthwell Cross

The Ruthwell Cross was carved by skilled Northumbrian sculptors in the early 8th century. It is the most important Anglo-Saxon cross in Scotland and a monument of international importance. The cross originally stood near the present church. In 1664 it was pulled down and smashed on the instructions of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. In 1802 it was re-erected in the manse garden and in 1887 was moved to a specially built apse in the church. The cross is richly decorated with Christian symbols. The two faces are carved with a series of panels, each one illustrating a scene from the Gospels and accompanied by a Latin text. The sides are carved with vine leaves and animals and around the border runs a runic inscription. This is part of the "Dream of the Rood", an Early English poem on the crucifixion. Information boards inside the church help to explain the images and symbols used on the cross. The cross is in the care of Historic Scotland.


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