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Sigurd Cross Slab

Period: Late Medieval

NGR Easting: 241485

NGR Northing: 499270

Description: This broken slab was found in the churchyard in 1885. Only part of the cross shaft survives, but there are indications on both faces that this was surmounted by a wheel-headed cross with a plain ring. The panels to either side of the shaft are broken along both edges and their surfaces damaged, so that only one survives to anything approaching full width.

On one face the shaft is decorated with three dragons loosely bound in an irregular interlace. The panel to the left depicts scenes from the story of Sigurd. At the very foot Sigurd, sword in hand, attacks the dragon Fafnir, who writhes in agony; above, Sigurd roasts Fafnir’s heart on a spit over the flames of a fire and cools his scalded fingers in his mouth, thereby learning from the birds that the dwarf Regin means to kill him. One of the birds is seen behind him, together with the head of his horse Grani.

The other face shows a later part of the saga when, amidst loose, serpent-headed interlacing, a manacled figure is attacked by one of the serpents. This is Gunnar, who, after gaining possession of Fafnir’s treasure from his brother-in-law Sigurd, succumbs to its curse, and is captured by Atli, a king who also desires the fortune. In an attempt to torture the whereabouts of the treasure from him, Atli has Gunnar bound and thrown into a pit of snakes. Shown with his hands and ankles tied, surrounded by serpents, one of which can be seen biting him on the heart, Gunnar takes the secret whereabouts of the treasure to his grave.

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Site & Monument Type: cross

Category: National Monuments Record: Statutory Ancient Monuments

Site ID number: Manx Cross 121


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