Fowlis Wester Parish Church Cross Slab
A cross-slab and two fragments were found during the restoration of the parish church of Fowlis Wester (NN92SW 7). The slab design consists of a very finely enriched cross standing on an upright oblong base, in this respect resembling the standing cross out in the square at Fowlis Wester (NN92SW 5). It is decorated with spirals and key patterns. The remainder of the field is sculptured in low relief with animals and figures.
J J Waddell 1932
As described and illustrated by Waddell, the cross-slab and fragments stand within the church against the north wall.
Visited by OS (RD) 12 December 1966.
One complete cross-slab and fragments of two others were found in the course of the restoration of Fowlis Wester church (NN92SW 7) in 1927.
The cross-slab is now set into a concrete base in the N aisle of the church and the two fragments are clamped to the wall of the building above it. The cross-slab tapers markedly upwards from the base, and is carved in relief on one face. This is in a fine state of preservation, and displays a wheel headed cross with square central boss and rectangular terminals to the arms, all filled with interlace. The foot of the cross rises from a rectangular base with a central panel of spirals and a border of rectangular key pattern. To either side of the upper arm of the cross is a sea-monster with a spiral tail. That on the left is accompanied by a round shield and a broad-bladed sword with a heavy pommel and a straight guard. The monster to the right is in the act of biting the head of a naked, struggling man. To either side of the cross-shaft is a seated ecclesiastic. That to the left is surrounded by three stylised plants. Behind the ecclesiastic on the right is a second figure, unusual in being depicted facing the viewer, whereas all other figures are shown in profile. To the left of the cross-base stand two further ecclesiastics, clad, as are the two seated figures, in key-patterned cloaks with hoods thrown back. There is no corresponding panel to the right of the base, owing to an irregularity in the surface of the stone. The reverse of the slab is not sculptured, and has been left rough.
Of the two small fragments, the first bears a portion of an interlace filled shaft, a blank panel, and a plain edge moulding. The second bears the upper portion of a cross, broken along the line of the two horizontal arms. These are filled with a pattern of interlace. The upper arm, which is decorated with a key-pattern, tapers upwards from a narrow waist formed by a pair of semi-circular hollows above the cross arms,.
Visited by RCAHMS (IF, JRS), 27 October 1995.