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The Ruthwell Cross

The Ruthwell Cross is one of the most important
attractions on the Solway Coast Heritage Trail. A runic
cross, it dates back to about AD 680 and bears the oldest extant fragment of written English. The cross is a
priceless work of art and is considered to be one of the
major monuments of Dark Age Europe.

The cross was nearly destroyed as an ‘idolatrous
monument’ during the Reformation. The General
Assembly of the Church of Scotland ordered its
destruction, but a succession of forward-thinking
ministers of the parish craftily conserved it for
posterity. One of them was the Revd Henry Duncan,
who founded the world’s first bona fide savings bank at

The cross is 18 feet high and stands in the parish
church. It was designed to tell the story of the Life and
Passion of Christ, a sermon on stone. It bears figure
sculptures and Latin inscriptions.

If you would like to visit this area as part of a highly personalized small group tour of my native Scotland please e-mail me:

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