Onchan Stone Cross

Points of Interest
View More
Church Rd., Onchan, Isle of Man, IM3 1BF | Directions

A Cross with Fylfot design and two dog-headed monsters

(Pictured Top Left)


In 1841 William Kinnebrook published an engraving of this cross, with its distinctive Fylfot, or Swastika-like symbol, near the base of the shaft. The Fylfot was a decorative form used in Christian art, including manuscripts, metalwork, and, less frequently, in stonework.

Mrs Richards describes this cross as:

"..zoomorphic and has marvellous continuous plaiting over the whole face. It is badly worn, but enough detail is left to be able to follow the plaits.

"On each side of the fust are two dog-headed monsters. They are formed from spirals and their jaws are open. The long protruding tongues loop around their paws. On the bottom panel, below the cross are four spirals with their ends interlaced."

The cross was moved inside the church at the end of the 19th century. Its socket stone was left in its original position in Onchan churchyard, and was rediscovered in 1994.

Three of the Onchan crosses feature the strange animals which are usually referred to as dog-headed monsters. However, in earlier times they were also described as being apes, weasels or cats. More recently they were likened to a Manx lion.



Thurith's Cross


Isle of Man - Stone Crosses - Onchan


Height: 45"
Width:  18"
Depth:  2"

Mrs Richards notes that:

"This is an unusual cross in that the carving is not of a high standard and the Runic inscription is a late one." 

The runes appear on either side of the cross. On the right hand illustration they have been read as: THE CROSS JESUS CHRIST THURITH CARVED THESE RUNES, and on the other side as: ...SON ERECTED [this cross] TO THE MEMORY OF HIS WIFE MURIEL...UKIFAT AND RATHFRID...

According to Thwaite's History of the Isle of Man in 1863, this cross had been used as building stone in the steeple of the old church at Onchan. Following the construction of the new church in 1833, the former one, which dated back to about the 12th century, was demolished and the cross came to light.


Eight years later in 1841, William Kinnebrook recorded them as standing in the garden of Mrs Martha Quane, at the then recently built St Catharine's House in Onchan village.

Following the death of her father-in-law in the same year that the old church was demolished, the young Mrs Quane had control of St Catharine's. It is possible that she laid out the garden and that the Vicar made her a gift of what were considered to be worthless pieces of building rubble.

She also obtained possession of the bell turret of the old church and this still remains built into the garden wall of the house in Onchan.

Runes from Thurith's cross representing the words KRUS ISU KRIST are reproduced on the modern lectern of St Mary's Church at Hill Street in Douglas.



Kirk Conchan Wheel Cross


(Pictured Top Right)


Height: 26"
Width:  14"
Depth:  1"

It is an excellent example of a single-sided cross - very intricately carved and with continuous interlacing.

The outer circle has a plait of four and the inner circle a twist. Below is a sunken panel with two dog-like creatures, one of which appears to have two heads.