13. Nith Bridge Cross,
Thornhill
Map Ref: NX 838954
On the west side of Nith Bridge in a field at the side of the A702 and close to a small lay-by. No public access but it can be viewed from the roadside.

Crown ©, courtesy of Historic Scotland

This elegant stone, some 2.7m high, is the only Dark Age cross in Dumfries and Galloway still standing in its original position.

Carved with Northumbrian-style decoration, the cross was erected sometime during the 10th century. The top and side-arms of the cross-head are damaged but the body of the cross-shaft is still richly decorated. The faces are carved with pairs of dragon-like animals and similar beasts appear on one of the sides where their tails knot together in an inter-lace design. The other side has a simple plaited decoration. The cross-head is carved with a striking and quite unusual rosette.

A number of other Northumbrian-style carved stones have been found in this part of Nithsdale and examples from Durrisdeer, Glencairn, Penpont and Closeburn can be seen in Dumfries Museum. The Closeburn stone is particularly interesting. Highly decorated, it combines animal and human carving with elaborate interlace designs.

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