Capelrig Cross, Glasgow


Capelrig Cross at Rouken Glen Visitor Centre, Glasgow, Scotland.

This evening, I am reporting on a very ancient link with Scotland’s distant history, namely an early medieval cross. 

The cross is represented by the remaining shaft as illustrated above and immediately below. It is constructed of sandstone and for about one thousand years was exposed to the elements in a fixed open landscape position which explains the extensive weathering and loss of the cross-bar. The structure, together with base, was rescued from an open field as recently as 1926.

Video clip of the cross

More information (from

Measurements: H 2.35m above base, W 0.48m, D 0.20m; base c H 0.70m, W 1.09m by 0.61m

Stone type: sandstone

Evidence for discovery: recorded in the early 1920s standing in a field on Holm Farm and taken to the museum in Glasgow in 1926 after excavation around its base.

Present condition: severely weathered and broken at the top (cross-head is missing).


All four faces of the cross-shaft bear traces of relief carving, in each case consisting of two panels of interlace ornament within plain flatband frames. The boulder base is plain apart from a small incised cross.

Date: 10th or 11th century.

There are other examples of free-standing crosses from the early medieval period in S.W. Scotland such as the Arthurlie Cross in Barrhead (near Glasgow), which is still in situ. See image below.

Arthurlie Cross

The Capelrig Cross is attributed to the Govan School of sculpture which was active during the 9th-11th centuries AD and illustrated the merging of a wide range of cultures including Pictish, Irish, Viking and Northumbrian. Close examination reveals the high quality craftsmanship of the carved, interlaced panels.

Note that the 'capel' element of the name is probably derived form the Gaelic word for horse.


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