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Heimdall Cross Slab

Period: Early Medieval

NGR Easting: 234960

NGR Northing: 498500

Description: Only part of this cross survives, having suffered damage before being placed inside the church in the early 1900s. Each face bears the upper part of a cross without a circle. On one face bands of interlace form triquetra knots in the arms; in the head they split to form interlacing rings. The shaft below the cross is decorated with tendrill pattern, the panel to the left with key-fret, and the damaged panel to the right with an unusual interlace developed from the knotted motifs on the cross. Above the left arm is a female figure with long braided hair and flowing robes reaching towards the cross; she has been interpreted as representing Hyndla, the wise woman who foretells the dreadful day of Ragnarök, although this is open to question. To the right is a disembodied hand gripping either a staff or perhaps a spear.

On the other face the cross shaft bears a double twist interlace which extends into the arms and head before terminating in diagonal, interlaced rings. Another more complicated form of twisted interlace appears in the panel to the right of the shaft, whilst to the left the panel is occupied by a runic inscription. Above the right arm a man in a buttoned tunic and helmet, armed with a sword, holds a horn to his lips; above him flies a bird. This is popularly identified as Heimdall. As foretold by Hyndla, Heimdall blows a great horn to summon the gods to the great conflict at Ragnarök. The remains of the inscription has been translated as, '..his son, but raised another..'

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Site & Monument Type: cross

Category: National Monuments Record: Statutory Ancient Monuments

Site ID number: Manx Cross 127


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