8.4.6 Later sculpture and architecture

There is also an important set of 10th–12th century coped stones or ‘hogbacks’ found across the region. This suggests continued patronage of these monastic sites into the Viking Age, including at the island monastery of Inchcolm, only some of which would have related to the main pilgrimage routes. Hogbacks have been stereotyped as ‘colonial’ markers reflecting Scandinavian settlement in an area (Lang 1975) but were probably the products of a hybridised religious and socio-political environment (Williams 2015, 2016). In fact, recent research suggests they are better understood as a form of elite mortuary commemoration particularly associated with new foundations and the emergent merchant class rather than the settlement of a particular cultural group in an area (Barnes 2019). There are several hogbacks found throughout the SESARF study area, including at Tyninghame, Lempitlaw, Old Cambus and Bedrule. The ornament on some of these, such as the chequerboard pattern on the Tyninghame stone (NMS X.IB 289), is shared with Romanesque sculpture in the nearby church which means they may be as late as the 12th century (Maldonado 2021).

a somewhat overgrown hogback grave stone  in a grassy field
Hogback grave stone in Lempitlaw Kirkyard © James Denham (CC BY-SA 2.0)
A black and white photograph with a small hodback in the foreground
Hogback 2 at Old Cambus © HES

There are very few remains of early medieval churches in the SESARF area. Auldhame has some of the few archaeological remains for a church from this period, with evidence of a timber structure having been discovered under the remains of later churches (SESARF 8.4.5 Early monasteries). Other churches are hinted at by the presence of early medieval stone sculptures and the presence of later churches, for instance at Tyninghame and Lasswade. At Tyninghame, where the current church remains are from the Anglo-Norman period, there are references to a monastery of St Baldred that was laid waste to in 941 by Olaf Guthfrithsson. The land was then supposedly gifted to the monks of the St Cuthbert at Durham in 1094. A fragment of a 10th century cross was found in the masonry of the church tower and the hogback tombstone found in a field is also associated with the early medieval church at Tyninghame (Dransart 2017, 85–6).

At Lasswade a similar pattern can be seen with the reuse of a 10th or 11th century cross and an 11th century carved slab used in the masonry of the 13th century church. Much like at Tyninghame, the reuse of such items as masonry points could indicate the presence of a previous church at the same location or nearby. The 12th century abbey at Jedburgh is also thought to have been constructed on the site of an earlier Northumbrian church, from which several carved stone fragments from between the 8th and 11th centuries survive (Smith 2017; Cramp 2014).

photograph from the inside of the abbey, looking out onto the town. The sun is glaring in the top right corner.
Jedburgh Abbey © Tom Parnell (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The transition from the 11th to the 12th century saw the introduction of a new style of art and architecture, commonly known as Romanesque. This style was adopted in Scotland relatively late in comparison to the rest of Europe, manifesting in the 12th and 13th centuries (Cusack 2015). The SESARF region is home to several churches built in this style, including St Baldred’s (Tyninghame), St Martin’s Kirk (Haddington), and the Parish Church of St Cuthbert (Dalmeny), all of which fall outwith the period covered in this chapter. We can only guess at what style and materials the earlier churches in the SESARF area would have been, with only Auldhame having any archaeological identifiable remains to tell us about these structures.

Photograph of an old stone kirk. There is no roof, but the structure appears to be otherwise intact.
St Martin’s Kirk © Rude Health (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Photograph  centered on a grey stone church with a square tower. There is a graveyard in the foreground.
Dalmeny Parish Church © Tom Sargent (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Another big gap in our understanding are the post-Viking, pre-Norman phases of monasteries. We know from excavations at Auldhame and Isle of May, as well as recent work outside the study area at Lindisfarne (Petts and Wilkins 2022), that these burial grounds remained in use. Additionally, late sculpture continued to be produced, most notably at Abercorn (Smith 2017). A 10th-century coin hoard from near St Helen’s, Cockburnspath combined with two late ‘hogbacks’, signifies an interesting phase of this church. Meanwhile 9th to 10th century coins and late sculpture from Jedburgh remain decontextualised, likely through disturbance from the later reformed abbey.