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Title Synopsis Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Bibliography Catalogue Appendix

Plate 8

Cross Shaft, Kirby Hill, Ripon, Yorkshire

10th Century

Kirby Hill Sghaft

At Kirby Hill (near Ripon), various elements of the Sigurd story are compressed into one scene on a broken cross shaft. The panel seems to have come from near the top of the shaft, since immediately above the Sigurd scene are two feet in cross-section. This is part of a standard crucifixion pose, seen on many crosses including for instance Gosforth, Lancaster and Kirklevington. This identification is further confirmed by the stone tapering in at this point, indicating that the crucifixion filled the cross head, as is frequently the case. The Sigurd scene itself concentrates on the death of Regin, in the headless body at the top, which is also very similar to the Halton body. Below is a crudely executed figure in outline only. He wears a helmet similar to his Manx counterparts and raises an enlarged thumb to his mouth. This is Sigurd, and he stands next to a pile of three rectangular blocks, which most probably stand for the anvil in Regin 's workshop. This would further tie in with the Halton example, especially since a snail coiled bundle under Sigurd's feet has been possibly identified as another stylised example of the body of the dead dragon. More positive recognition is difficult due to the break in the stone. There was once another small fragment at Kirby Hill that had a horse on one side, and a knotted dragon with a nick in its body where a sword is cut in. This has close parallels with a stone carving in Tanberg, Norway, and an axe blade from Vladimir-Susdal, which has a tree with two birds on the reverse. All three examples could be linked to the York grave slab if the dragon on the eroded top could be clearly examined.


Return to Chapter 4, Ref. Plate 8


Cross Shaft, Kirby Hill, Ripon, Yorkshire
Reproduced from the Yorkshire Archaeological Journal , V48.

 

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1990-1 Shona E McAndrew