8.6.5 Norse Runic Inscribed Stones

There are also a few stones with runic inscriptions. From Old St Peter’s Church, Thurso a free standing cross with a runic inscription commemorating the deceased was reputedly found over a cist containing a human skeleton, with another cist nearby (MHG1410). The dating of this inscribed slab is not clear, and it may be 12th century, that is from the Norse rather than the Viking period. Another runic inscribed stone fragment has been built into the fabric of the church (MHG13624). The only other runic inscription on the mainland is from Dunbeath (Graham-Campbell and Batey 1998, 42), but it is likely to be a modern forgery (Findell 2016). A small sandstone disc from the Keiss Road broch (NMS X.GJ 205) is no longer thought to be runic (Barnes and Page 2006, 27).

The runic inscribed stone from Old St Peter’s Church, Thurso. The slab has been dressed roughly into the form of a cross and the runic inscription reads ‘(…) made this overlay after Ingulf his/her father’. The use of the term ‘overlay’ and the provenance of the slab are thought to indicate that it was designed to be a recumbent slab. ©HES

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