Inchmarnock, Bute (SC 10)

This inscription lies on a fragment of a low relief cross head from the small island of Inchmarnock, off the west coast of Bute. The heavily damaged piece of schist measures 204mm by 198mm and is 25mm thick. It was found about 45m north of the graveyard of St. Marnock's chapel, and what remains of the cross features rounded armpits, with quadrants defined by single incised arcs. A single band of firmly incised runes runs up the centre of the cross.

...(k)rus:þina:til:kuþl**...

...kross þena til Guðl...

'...this cross to Guðl...'

There is a faint second inscription on the other side of the cross fragment. This is almost certainly incidental graffiti, but it has been suggested that it represents a continuation of the primary inscription.

The preposition til ('to') is rare in Norse memorial epigraphy (there are only nine other examples) perhaps suggesting a local variation of the standard memorial formula due to a Hebridean mixed language environment. Once again, the use of the dotted-i rune suggests a terminus post quem of c. 1000, and in this case it seems to have been more deliberately carved. Also, we again find the use of the word 'cross' rather than 'stone'. It's use on other western inscriptions, and as a distinctive feature of the Manx runic tradition, suggests that this was a Celticisim introduced into Old Norse; applying the common Norse memorial formula, with a common Celtic variation of wording. As with the Kilbar cross (SC 8), the decoration is also reminiscent of the Manx style. The final word, beginning Guðl... almost certainly represents the start of a personal name, such as Guðleifr, Guðleikr, or Guðlaugr. However, it may also represent a compound of the word Guðr, 'God-...', although this would depart further from the standard memorial formula.

In 1890, the Marquess of Bute donated the stone to the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, where it is still on display.

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