Rey Cross

All that remains of the Rey Cross, off the A66 near Stainmore. It is thought to be the remains of a mediaeval boundary cross, possibly 10th century. The name may come from the Norse hreyrr, boundary or boundary-marker. It seems to have marked the boundary between Cumbria and Northumbria, which passes nearby to this day.

 

The stump was moved from its original site, in or near the remains of a Roman camp further West , when the A66 (itself a Roman road) was widened. I'm guessing that the plinth visible here is modern concrete, but the wire fencing prevents close inspection. On the plus side, a layby on the Eastbound side of the modern dual carriageway is provided for the convenience of visitors.

 

The cross has also been associated by some with the betrayal and death of Erik Bloodaxe, the last king of York. According to Roger of Wendover, "King Eilric in a certain lonely place called Steinmor, with his son Henric and brother Reginald, by betrayal ... were treacherously killed" (my translation from the Latin) as Erik fled for Cumbria after being expelled from York in 954. Some have cast this as a pitched battle on the border, but the description is more consistent with an assassination by the roadside or in an inn. Sadly, the reported location (actually some 7km away) and the approximate date (probably within a century or two) are the only tenuous links to this cross.

 

See also

Michael Wood, 2001, "In search of the Dark Ages," BBC Books.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Bloodaxe

 

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Taken on July 14, 2006
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