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Govan Old Church has a collection of five imposing hogback monuments.

The earliest is stone no. 2 which dates to the mid 10th century. This stone is similar to the Cumbrian hogbacks: it is slim and steeply pitched; it has concave-sided ‘shingles’ or ‘roof-tiles’ and it has a very worn beast with its head facing inwards at either end.

The base of this hogback is decorated with the form of interlace known as ‘stopped plait’. This is a style of interlace which occurs at Whithorn in Galloway.

All the other hogback monuments at Govan date to the later 10th century. They differ from the Cumbrian hogbacks because of their great size, which was presumably intended to reflect the importance of the deceased.

Stone no. 3 has been reworked, creating just one animal which stretches from end to end of the stone, with its head hanging over the vertical end of the monument. The lower parts of the sides of the stone were cut back to reveal the animal’s legs in relief.

Stone no. 10 is unusually long, being 2.4 m in length. It has concave ‘roof-tiles’. One of the end beasts survives, but the other has been broken off.

Stone no. 11 has vertical ends with inward-facing beasts. The hollow in the top of this monument appears to be the result of it being used as a whetstone for sharpening blades for many years.

Stone no. 12 has ‘roof-tiles’ which are rectangular in style. On this hogback the body of the surviving end beast has been used as panels for interlaced decoration. The beast at the other end has been cut off and the end reworked.

It has been suggested ( Richie, A., 2011, ‘Govan and its Carved Stones’, p.18) that the reworking of these stones took place in the 11th or 12th centuries.

You can visit the Govan Old Church Website here…


Govan Stone no. 2
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Govan Stone no. 3
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Govan Stone no. 10
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Govan Stone no. 11
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Govan Stone no. 12
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