Crowle Stone

Crowle Stone

The Crowle Stone, originally carved as a cross shaft, is now located to the rear of the nave in the local parish church of St Oswald. Until 1919 it was used as a lintel over the West Door. The preservation of the stone is almost certainly as a result of the Norman masons reusing it when the church was built in 1150AD.The stone measures 6’11” (2.11m) in height 16″ (400mm) thick and 8.5″ (215mm) wide.


The Crowle Stone as it was when used as a stone Lintel by the Norman masons. From Stonhouse’s History and Topography of the Isle of Axholme.

There is much debate about the age of the stone. However it can be stated with a fair degree of certainty that it has to have been carved before 1000AD. The use of Runes in England had died out around 950AD and their use was forbidden by King Cnut (1017-1036).

At the top of the front face of the stone two winged figures are depicted with a curious circular pattern. Below this are the images of three men, the two upper men are facing each other and could be dancing. Below the third man is riding upon an ass or perhaps a horse. There is no agreement on who the stone depicts and it has been suggested that this depicts St Paul and St Anthony meeting in the desert and the flight into Egypt. An alternative interpretation is that the upper two figures represent Noah entering and leaving the Arc.

At the bottom there is what remains of a runic inscription. Because of its worn nature and the fact that only a fragment of the original phrase survives there is no agreement on its interpretation. Two interpretaions read it as “Still mind the book, never…” and “Bestow a prayer upon Nun Lin”. The remaining faces are decorated with typical celtic designs.

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