The Sigurd’s Cross

We stopped off in the nearby village of Halton for a quick circuit of the church yard. The attraction was the Sigurd’s Cross.

The cross, 15 feet tall, is made up of four separate fragments which date from the Viking era - around the year 900. Despite over a thousand years of Lancashire weather the carvings on the cross are still very clear. They tell the story of Sigurd the dragon slayer, a Viking hero. The strange tale includes a scene where Sigurd gains an understanding of bird-speech by sucking his thumb while roasting the dragon’s heart over a fire. This scene can be clearly seen in the top half of one face of the cross.

The other faces are equally detailed,


The cross shows a mix of pagan (from the story of Sigurd) and Christian scenes. On the face below, the lower half shows two priests standing on chalices with a cross between them. The upper half shows the priests below the body of Christ.

In fact, this is not the only representation of the story of Sigurd in the area. Carvings on one side of the hogback tombstone inside St Peter's church in nearby Heysham tells the same story.