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The Gosforth Cross

  Arguably the finest Viking carving in England, this red sandstone cross has stood for over a thousand years in the churchyard at Gosforth in Cumbria. The village is in the original zone of settlement of the Norse Vikings in the tenth century. Gosforth is 17 km (11 miles) south of Whitehaven at map ref: NY 072036.


Erected in about 920-950 AD, this magnificent 4.4 metres (14 ft) high cross has carvings representing a mixture of Viking and Christian symbols. There are scenes of Viking gods Odin, Thor and Loki, as well as of Christ crucified. It is the tallest ancient cross in England and is of great beauty and importance, showing the transition from pagan to Christian beliefs.


Inside Gosforth church are two fine Viking tenth century hogback tombstones, one called the Saintís Tomb and the other the Warrior tomb.  The Fishing Stone is thought to be part of a frieze, showing the Viking god Thor fishing for Midgard the Serpent.