Carlisle, Cathedral Museum, Cumberland

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Feature Sets (2)


In 1979, the carved fragment of yellow sandstone was found during the excavations of an 18thc pit at Keays Lane, Carlisle.


The Domesday Survey does not record this area of the country. William Rufus took control of Carlisle in 1092 and had a castle built, while in 1122 Henry I visited Carlisle and ordered that the village be fortified with a castle and towers. In 1123 an Augustinian monastery was founded and later, in 1133, a cathedral was established. David I of Scotland re-took control of Carlisle in early 1136 and it remained in Scottish hands until Henry II took it back in 1157.


Loose Sculpture


The surviving decoration on the stone shows an interlacing band with raised central strand, the decorated surface being carved on a curve. The stone is on display in the Cathedral Treasury exhibition area, on loan from the Tullie House Museum in Carlisle.


Depth 0.108m
Height 0.115m
Width 0.27m


The decoration on the fragment has strong parallels with the Herefordshire School of Romanesque sculpture, comparisons being made with the interlace band on the baptismal font of the church at Castle Frome. The possibility that the fragment may originally have formed part of a baptismal font is reasonable but cannot be proven. Such comparisons suggest a likely date in either the 2nd or 3rd quarters of the 12th century.


  • R. Cramp, Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture, vol. 2: Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North-of-the-Sand, Oxford 1988, 164.

  • M. McCarthy, Carlisle: A Frontier City, Carlisle 1980.

Triple-strand interlace with raised central strand


Site Location
Carlisle, Cathedral Museum
National Grid Reference
NY 399 560 
now: Cumbria
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Cumberland
now: Carlisle
medieval: Carlisle
Type of building/monument
Report authors
James King 
Visit Date
05 October 2016