Runes, Motorways, and Mountains in Cumbria

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After our trip to the Wirral and back to Chester, we left the next morning for a trip north through Cumbria, the first stop being Halton, in Lancashire. Here we saw a wonderful cross.

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It has a seated (?) figure between two other figures.

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Next stop, after a lovely lunch of soup and sandwiches, Great Urswick. This cross fragment has some wonderful runes on one face.

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The other having figurative sculpture. And if you ask at Urswick the church warden will bring out the other piece of early medieval sculpture:

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A smaller piece with knot work.

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They also have a Collingwood watercolour of the fragment, which was pretty cool.

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Next was Waberthwaite to see this large cross shaft placed on the estuary of the River Esk. The Church yard was full of flowers; snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils. We could hardly step for standing on them.

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The sculpture at Waberthwaite was very worn, but incredible beautiful. It is rare to have such a large cross-shaft with only vine scroll to adorn it. But I quite liked him. Driving from Waberthwaite was interesting because it was the smallest and bumpiest of roads, and then traversed over mountains and through the lakes, but our driver was expert!

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But then we went to Gosforth. Which I was really excited about, the cross there is famous and very large. The scenes are weathered but many of them identifiable, there are scenes of ‘Viking’ origin and Anglo-Scandinavian ring chain motifs.

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Inside the church at Gosforth, there is some fragmentary sculpture set into the walls, including the Fishing Stone, showing Thor fishing for the serpent.

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And there are hogbacks at Gosforth! Gosforth was a highlight stop, plus they made us tea and scones.

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After Gosforth we headed towards the Irish Sea, and our Hotel at St. Bee’s.

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The Hotel was at the beach.

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I really love the beach.

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There were sheep at this beach.

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I spent a long while before dinner walking the beach, which was very nice after a day on the coach.

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Even when its a bit cold and bit wet! (But hey ad least I had finished my buttoning scarf…)

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The next day we stopped at St. Bridget’s Brigham, which had tons of sculpture fragments in all the corners of the church and even under the pews. Including a small piece with some fine knot work that I considered slipping into my handbag (except not at all and I would never ever do that!) It was very nice though.

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In the grave yard at Brigham there was a fab monument with a book carved on (and it was a giant grave stone), I really liked it and think that I might want one for my grave.

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Next we went to another St. Bridget’s, this one being in Bridekirk.

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Here there was a font with runic carving on it, it is a Norman font so that is quite unique.

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Our last stop was Penrith, here there is a weathered cross, but the main point of interest is the so-called Giant’s Tomb.

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It is made op of two shafts (that presumably were once crosses) and four broken and weathered hogbacks. It is a very impressive monument, and a brilliant way to end a wonderful two day trip.

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I had such great time was so glad to meet the others in the network. I am looking forward to the next meeting in two years time.

After grabbing a train back to York, I headed straight to London approximately twelve hours later for a brilliant conference at UCL, before gearing up for a trip to Dublin and Monasterboice where I was able to take tons of photos of different stone fragments (some much older than these!) I will post these later this week before I head off to yet another conference, this time Edinburgh!

Me gosforth

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