Osruth's Cross Slab (Manx Cross 107) - The Parish Church of St. John the Baptist, The Royal Chapel - St. John's, Isle of Man
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Mike_bjm
N 54° 12.213 W 004° 38.411
30U E 393016 N 6007411
Quick Description: Osruth's Cross Slab (Manx Cross 107) can be found in the porch of The Royal Chapel in the village of St. John's.
Location: Isle of Man
Date Posted: 1/31/2021 4:06:16 AM
Waymark Code: WM13QAW
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member RakeInTheCache
Views: 1

Long Description:
Osruth's Cross Slab (Manx Cross 107) can be found within the porch on the left as one enters the church.

On the wall above the cross slab is a plaque with the following description:

'OSRUTH'S CROSS
SHAFT OF A NORSE CROSS-SLAB OF THE 1OTH CENTURY, FOUND
IN THE OLD CHURCH OF ST JOHN'S WHEN IT WAS BEING DEMOLISHED IN 1850

THE DECORATED FACE SHOWS AN INERLACING PATTERN OF THE
CHARACTERISTIC RING-CHAIN DESIGN, AND THE RIGHT EDGE BEARS SIMPLE
CRUDE DECORATION OF CURVED DIAGONAL STROKES. THE LEFT EDGE
CARRIES AN INSCRIPTION IN NORSE RUNIC LETTERING, WHICH READS
(UPWARDS) "IN OSRUTHR: RAIST: RUNNER: THSAR" I.E. "BUT OSRUTH CARVED THESE RUNES". THE UPPER PORTION OF THIS EDGE OF THE
CROSS, NOW MISSING, PROBABLY BORE THE NAME OF THE MAN OR WOMAN
TO WHOSE MEMORY THE MEMORIAL STONE HAD ORIGINALLY BEEN SET UP.
------------------
UNDER THE GUARDIANSHIP OF THE
MANX MUSEUM & NATIONAL TRUST'

The cross slab can be seen in 3D at the following link: (visit link)

P. M. C Kermode in the second edition of his 'Catalogue of the Manks Crosses with the Runic Inscriptions and Readings and Renderings Compared described this cross-slab as follows:
'(34)IV. (Cumming, Fig 5.) In porch of S. John's Church, a fragment 3ft. 9in. by 15in., and 4 to 4 1/2 in. thick. One face sculptured showing lower portion of shaft of Cross. Ornament, Vertebral pattern on shaft: one edge shows traces of Twist or Twists-and-ring pattern. Inscription up the other edge.'

The following is an extract from 'A Guide to the Archaeological Sites of the Isle of Man: Up to AD 1500 by Andrew Johnson and Allison Fox (ISBN:978-0-9554043-5-1)
'GERMAN 107 - ASRUTH'S CROSS
'This broken slab was recovered when the previous church was demolished in the 1840's. It dates to the second half of the 10th century on the basis of the Borre ring chain shown on the cross shaft. A badly worn runic inscription runs up one edge and translates as, 'but Asruthr carved these runes...'The marks on the other edge are abstract and seemingly meaningless.'

Borre Style decoration dates from c.850-950 AD. It 'was extremely popular in the Island. The only used in the Isle of Man is an interlaced ornament which appears in two forms, as a ring-chain and a knot (variations of the latter - sometimes called a 'pretzel' - appear on cross-heads and continued to be used on some of the latest monuments of the Manx series).
Source: 'Manx Crosses' by David M. Wilson (ISBN:978-1-78491-756-2)

'Cumming (1857)reports that MM 107 was found "in the old church of St. John the Baptist in Kirk German, when it was pulled down A.D. 1850". The old church was up at the beginning of the 1700s and replaced an earlier structure (Harrison 1871:50m who, pp. 78-80, gives the date of demolition as 1847, which seems to be correct). Cummings adds of the stone: "It is now erected in the churchyard [of the new, replacement building, the Royal Chapel - or, more properly the Parish Church of St. John the Baptist] in the angel between the tower and south porch." From this site it was removed, to stand within the porch, where Kermode (1892:14) recorded it. There it stays, on the left as one enters, close up to the wall and set in the concrete floor. A 11-16 cm gap between the stone and wall permits examination of what may be termed the stone's reverse face, which shows no trace of carving whatsoever.'

The main runic inscription 'is clearly part of a subsidiary statement, in all likelihood complementing a memorial formal:
'And/But Asrodr carved theses runes'

'On the upper right-hand side of decorated face of MM 107, close to its edge and outside the band delimiting the ornamentation, are found some further runes, running upwards. This appears to be a graffito.'

'Page surmised that this graffito represented an attempt to copy part, of the main inscription (1983:139), but it does not bear much similarity to what survives of the formal text. Indeed, it is hard to extract any sense from it at all. Possibly there was simply an attempt to imitate certain of the runes by someone with little or no grasp of the sense of the main inscription.
Source: 'The Runic Inscriptions of the Isle of Man' by Michael P Barnes (ISBN:978-0903521-97-0)
Approximate Age of Artefact: c.950

Relevant Website: Not listed

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