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Maclean's Cross, Iona

Maclean's Cross, Iona

Photographer: Wilson, George Washington

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1867


Item number: 12

Length: 10

Width: 7.8

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

"This Cross stands to the north of the Cathedral. It is a very remarkable object, consisting of one stone, and is about eleven feet in height, including the pedestal. Tradition assigns it a date as old as the time of Columba; but without claiming for it so high an antiquity as this, it may be regarded as amongst the oldest Christian monuments in Scotland. The stone of which it is composed is hard whin-stone; it has withstood the effects of time so as to be but little impaired. It is rudely carved; on the upper part is the representation of a crucifixion of some saint. Of crosses, there were at one time, it is said, not fewer than three hundred on the island - a tradition to which Sir Walter Scott alludes in speaking of the Abbot of Iona, in the 'Lord of the Isles' -

'The abbot come! They call at once

The holy man, whose favoured glance

Hath sainted visions known;

Angels have met him on his way

Beside the blessed Martyrs' Bay,

And by Columba's Stone.

His monks have heard their hymnings high

Sound from the summit of Dun Ii,

To cheer his penance lone;

When, at each cross, on girth and wold,

Their number thrice an hundred fold,

His prayer he made, his beads he told

With aves many a one.'


Descriptive letterpress from the book 'Photographs of English and Scottish Scenery' by G W Wilson

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