The Colouring of the Ruthwell and Bewcastle Crosses


The Colouring of the Ruthwell and Bewcastle Crosses


Art history


These notes describe a project carried out at the Manchester Museum in the University of Manchester as part of the redisplay of the museum galleries in 1999-2000, to recolour a set of casts of the crosses at Bewcastle and Ruthwell churches acquired in 1951(the Ruthwell Cross contains sections of ;The Dream of the Rood'), using the evidence surviving on other sculpture, the MS traditions and metalwork and jewellery. The coloured casts were put on display in the entrance hall of the refurbished Manchester Museum in 2003, serving as a beacon at the end of the new entrance hall to lead visitors into the rest of the museum as the originals had served as bright beacons of faith in the northern landscape: but in 2009 display policy in Manchester changed and they were put into store with little prospect of emerging in the foreseeable future. Happily, soon after they were transferred to a new home in the University of Leeds, where they are currently on display in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies.


John Prag


Late 7th/early 8th centuries

Date Created




John Prag, “The Colouring of the Ruthwell and Bewcastle Crosses,” Woruldhord, accessed December 6, 2023,