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Thorwald's Cross Slab

Period: Late Medieval

NGR Easting: 241410

NGR Northing: 499450

Description: This cross was found in the rectory garden north of the churchyard. Only a fragment survives, showing on each face the broken head of a shafted cross without circle. The shaft is decorated with ring-chain terminating in a cross.

On one face the space to the right shows a scene from the conflict of Ragnarök. Odin, one of his ravens on his shoulder, stabs at the wolf Fenrir with his spear, as the beast grips him in its jaws. Odin is devoured by the wolf and though the gods eventually prevail at great cost, a new mythological world order is created.

On the other side, a second figure of similar size is shown to the left of the cross shaft, holding a cross and what appears to be a book. Nearby are a fish and two knotted serpents, one of them trampled underfoot. The figure is interpreted as a priest, the fish as a potent symbol of Christianity, and the trampled serpent as signifying the triumph of Christ over evil.

While several Manx crosses portray pagan and Christian motifs side by side, this monument is particularly unusual in juxtaposing images on opposite faces apparently depicting two pivotal moments in pagan mythology and Christian belief.

The edge of the slab bears a fragment of a runic inscription, translated as, 'Thorwald raised this cross…'

View map location on Archaeology Data Service

Site & Monument Type: cross

Category: National Monuments Record: Statutory Ancient Monuments

Site ID number: Manx Cross 128


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