Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Runes on the Bewcastle Cross (Mystery Runes)

  1. #1
    Account Inactive
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Last Online
    Saturday, June 11th, 2016 @ 01:27 PM
    Ethnicity
    English
    Subrace
    CM-Atlantidish
    Country
    England England
    State
    Lancashire Lancashire
    Location
    Mamvcivm
    Gender
    Age
    39
    Politics
    Nationalist
    Religion
    British
    Posts
    3,586
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    13
    Thanked in
    13 Posts

    Runes on the Bewcastle Cross (Mystery Runes)

    Would anyone care to have a go at these?

    Bear in mind that this is an unavoidably corrupt drawing of a very weathered stone surface that has seen too many northern centuries...

    I've seen a few attempts at making sense of this relatively high-profile inscription, and doubtless the text will be recognised by some here, but I would appreciate some fresh opinions from those whose reading remains uninfluenced by what the experts have already said...

    Even if you can't translate it, I would still be interested in alternative transliterations into the Latin alphabet!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Psychonaut's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Last Online
    Wednesday, May 18th, 2016 @ 02:34 AM
    Ethnicity
    Acadian
    Country
    United States United States
    State
    Pennsylvania Pennsylvania
    Gender
    Age
    36
    Politics
    Old Stock Nativism
    Religion
    Heathen Theosophy
    Posts
    928
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post
    Wow dude, that's really hard to read. I can tell that it's using the Anglo-Saxon fuþork. I see a couple of recognizable words as well, like "sig" and "hwæt," but most of it is too difficult for me to decypher.
    "Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time."
    -H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #3
    Account Inactive
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Last Online
    Saturday, June 11th, 2016 @ 01:27 PM
    Ethnicity
    English
    Subrace
    CM-Atlantidish
    Country
    England England
    State
    Lancashire Lancashire
    Location
    Mamvcivm
    Gender
    Age
    39
    Politics
    Nationalist
    Religion
    British
    Posts
    3,586
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    13
    Thanked in
    13 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Psychonaut View Post
    Wow dude, that's really hard to read. I can tell that it's using the Anglo-Saxon fuþork. I see a couple of recognizable words as well, like "sig" and "hwæt," but most of it is too difficult for me to decypher.
    I know it's not easy! Aye, it's English. Sig and Hwaet are there, yes, but how would you read the rest, if you had to at least provide something of a decoding? (Should I add "Imagine if your life depended on it!"? )

    Here's another version:

    I would describe it as a 'possible reconstruction' that does NOT preclude other readings - perhaps some characters should be read differently. The first picture is more 'honest'. Sadly, when I saw the stone in real life, I could barely make out a thing. I'd need to make a cast or scan it with lasers or something.

  4. #4
    Account Inactive
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Last Online
    Saturday, June 11th, 2016 @ 01:27 PM
    Ethnicity
    English
    Subrace
    CM-Atlantidish
    Country
    England England
    State
    Lancashire Lancashire
    Location
    Mamvcivm
    Gender
    Age
    39
    Politics
    Nationalist
    Religion
    British
    Posts
    3,586
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    13
    Thanked in
    13 Posts
    Alright, I give in!
    It's the inscription from the Anglian cross at Bewcastle, in the far northeast of Cumberland. I was there a few weeks ago, and it is a truly spectacular monument, forming along with its neighbour at Ruthwell in Dumfriesshire something unique in Europe for its period (possibly 7th Century).

    The date is arrived at due to the possible reading of Alcfrith (or Alhfrith) Kyning and Oswiuing, the subking of Deira who seems to have unsuccessfully challenged his father for the top job. He may have descended on his mother's side from the British rulers of the northwestern kingdom of Rheged, explaining the siting of the monument in the remote moors.
    55' 03'' 48.73 North 2' 40'' 55.42 West if you want to look on Google Earth.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alhfrith_of_Deira

    http://www.visitcumbria.com/car/chb2.htm
    Nicola Didsbury writes "Isn't Bewcastle Cross incredible. In fact the whole area is fasinating. My Grandparents were from Bewcastle, and are buried in the church yard. I thought you may be interested in this translation of the runes:-

    Each of the four sides of the monument is profusely sculptured: but the west side is the most interesting to the archæologist, as it contains a long inscription in runic characters, the interpretation of which reveals the origin of the column. It is thus read (substituting Roman letters for the runic) by the Rev. Mr. Maughan: + THISSIG BEACN THUN SETTON HWAETRED WAETHGAR ALWFWOLTHU AFT ALCFRITHU EAN KYNIING EAC OSWIUING + GEBID HEO SINNA SAWHULA, that is "This slender pillar Hwætred, Wæthgar, and Alwfwold set up in memory of Alcfrith, a king and son of Oswy. Pray for them, their sins, their souls."


    An especially notable feature of the cross is the possibility that it actually has a representation of the man himself (though there is considerable debate on the propriety of assuming a secular portrait on a religious monument of this early date). I favour this view, and here is the man himself, replete with the necessary aristocrat's trappings of Hawk on Arm and Cloak.

    As you can see, the inscription was just above him, but is horrendously worn, and therefore, perhaps, debatable in content. Is it really Alhfrith?

  5. #5
    Account Inactive
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Last Online
    Saturday, June 11th, 2016 @ 01:27 PM
    Ethnicity
    English
    Subrace
    CM-Atlantidish
    Country
    England England
    State
    Lancashire Lancashire
    Location
    Mamvcivm
    Gender
    Age
    39
    Politics
    Nationalist
    Religion
    British
    Posts
    3,586
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    13
    Thanked in
    13 Posts
    Here's the text with the runes. I wonder if anybody can comment on some peculiar details?


    Th + U seems to be represented by a digramma or combined rune. Is this common?

    The personal names are rather odd too. Hwaetred, that's okay (St Guthlac cured a certain noble Hwaetred of his violent madness), but who's ever heard of a Waethgar or 'Alwfwolthu'?

    Is the latter a woman's name, from the look of it? Could the former rather be 'Rothgar'? Could any be read otherwise? Might it be possible to read 'Waltheof' in there?

    How is the grammar? I am unqualified to comment, but does it ring true, that is, sound correct the way it's supposed to be written here?

  6. #6
    Funding Member
    "Friend of Germanics"
    Skadi Funding Member

    Athalwulf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Last Online
    Saturday, January 7th, 2012 @ 09:59 PM
    Status
    Available
    Ethnicity
    Celtogermanic
    Ancestry
    Heruskoz
    Country
    Vinland Vinland
    State
    California California
    Gender
    Age
    28
    Family
    Single adult
    Occupation
    Aspiring Author
    Politics
    Tycho Brahe Party
    Religion
    Psychonautics and Cosmic Law
    Posts
    259
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    I've never seen runes like these before. The main shapes are familiar but the corresponding Latin letters seem to have changed based on the translations that you provided. Here's are my comments:

    1. It is not common for people to combine runes to form a letter or a word, and I have never heard of combined runes in the British Isles other than those brought over by Frisian invaders.

    2. The names don't appear to be directly Germanic in origin, maybe they are a combination of Celtic/Gaelic and Germanic names.

    3. The latter may be a woman's name, but I'm still untrusting of the translations that you have provided.

    4. The grammar appears to be correct from what the translations say, but I have little trust in the translators themselves.



    This is a very confusing inscription because there appears to be only one space or break in words. There are also many combined runes which would have a special sound given to them by the scribe. This looks like a combination of multiple runic writing systems or one that unique to a small group of people or lack of runic spelling knowledge, but then again I have only worked with the elder futhark and Saxon runes. I would like to know how the translators came up with the words that they write.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Angharad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Last Online
    Friday, July 13th, 2018 @ 10:31 PM
    Ethnicity
    Anglo-American
    Subrace
    Nordid
    Country
    United States United States
    State
    California California
    Gender
    Family
    In a steady relationship
    Posts
    136
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    2
    Thanked in
    2 Posts
    The waethgar name initial rune doesn't look like a w or r to me. I looked up some later runes and there is a version of K that looks like that, but kaethgar doesn't seem like a possibility to me either.

    I don't recall ever seeing a name like Alwfwolthu, I don't even know how to say that. I've studied a little Anglo-Saxon literature and Scandinavian folklore and literature in college, but it was a while ago. I have a hard time remembering Anglo-Saxon words, but an easier time with names.

    I've never heard of waethgar either. I haven't really seen rothgar either. I have seen Rathgar and Hrothgar though. I've never seen this inscription in person though, how weathered were the runes for the "ae" and the "W"?

    However, I did do a google search and found a book called "Mural Controversy" by John Maughan from 1857 that discusses this inscription. He thinks waethgar may be a name similar to Wihtgar from the Anglo-Saxon chronicle. He says that Alwfwolthu may be a version of Alfwold or Elwold and may be connected to the king mentioned in the runes, who he thinks is a version of a name like Alfred.

    Anyway, it looks like the whole book by John Maughan is available as a pdf on google, so you can read it and draw your own conclusions.


    Here's the url: http://books.google.com/books?id=pWU...al+Controversy

  8. #8
    Account Inactive
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Last Online
    Saturday, June 11th, 2016 @ 01:27 PM
    Ethnicity
    English
    Subrace
    CM-Atlantidish
    Country
    England England
    State
    Lancashire Lancashire
    Location
    Mamvcivm
    Gender
    Age
    39
    Politics
    Nationalist
    Religion
    British
    Posts
    3,586
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    13
    Thanked in
    13 Posts
    Thanks for the comments! Maybe I should have let the post sit longer on the forum before caving in!
    Quote Originally Posted by VinlandViking View Post
    2. The names don't appear to be directly Germanic in origin, maybe they are a combination of Celtic/Gaelic and Germanic names.
    It's tempting isn't it. Alhfrith's mother was supposedly Riammelth daughter of Rhoedd (or was it Rhun?) of the Welsh Kingdom of Rheged, in which the cross stands. I do have some familiarity with Welsh, however, and I can't make out anything similar here - though this was partly the reason behind my asking for fresh eyes to consider the inscription.
    This is a very confusing inscription because there appears to be only one space or break in words. There are also many combined runes which would have a special sound given to them by the scribe. This looks like a combination of multiple runic writing systems or one that unique to a small group of people or lack of runic spelling knowledge, but then again I have only worked with the elder futhark and Saxon runes. I would like to know how the translators came up with the words that they write.
    The local vicar seems to have come up with it, probably drawing from old Antiquarians' attempts. Comments have been made about the possibility of tampering with it in the early modern period.
    Quote Originally Posted by Angharad View Post
    The waethgar name initial rune doesn't look like a w or r to me. I looked up some later runes and there is a version of K that looks like that, but kaethgar doesn't seem like a possibility to me either.
    Exactly. I had a quick skim through the Prosopography here (a good resource if you are not already familiar with it) but came out none the wiser.
    I don't recall ever seeing a name like Alwfwolthu, I don't even know how to say that. ... I've never heard of waethgar either. I haven't really seen rothgar either. I have seen Rathgar and Hrothgar though. I've never seen this inscription in person though, how weathered were the runes for the "ae" and the "W"?
    They were as good as illegible when I was there, though I suppose a good light and a plaster cast or something might reveal more. I think we're stuck really.
    However, I did do a google search and found a book called "Mural Controversy" by John Maughan from 1857 that discusses this inscription. He thinks waethgar may be a name similar to Wihtgar from the Anglo-Saxon chronicle. He says that Alwfwolthu may be a version of Alfwold or Elwold and may be connected to the king mentioned in the runes, who he thinks is a version of a name like Alfred.

    Anyway, it looks like the whole book by John Maughan is available as a pdf on google, so you can read it and draw your own conclusions.


    Here's the url: http://books.google.com/books?id=pWU...al+Controversy
    Excellent work!

    I found something else here too:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=Kb-...J8Amfg#PPA9,M1

  9. #9
    Funding Member
    "Friend of Germanics"
    Skadi Funding Member

    Athalwulf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Last Online
    Saturday, January 7th, 2012 @ 09:59 PM
    Status
    Available
    Ethnicity
    Celtogermanic
    Ancestry
    Heruskoz
    Country
    Vinland Vinland
    State
    California California
    Gender
    Age
    28
    Family
    Single adult
    Occupation
    Aspiring Author
    Politics
    Tycho Brahe Party
    Religion
    Psychonautics and Cosmic Law
    Posts
    259
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    I can't even make out the sound of some of the runes. There are some I've never seen before and the combined ones are especially confusing.

Similar Threads

  1. Runes of Greenland: Runes around the North Sea and on the Continent
    By Blutwölfin in forum Runes & Sinnbildkunde
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: Thursday, May 23rd, 2019, 06:26 AM
  2. Daily Runes Anyone?
    By Barreldriver in forum Runes & Sinnbildkunde
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012, 05:45 PM
  3. Writing With Runes - Using Consecutive Runes
    By Paradigm in forum Runes & Sinnbildkunde
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: Thursday, August 19th, 2010, 05:40 AM
  4. How to Activate Runes...?
    By Praetorianer in forum Runes & Sinnbildkunde
    Replies: 40
    Last Post: Tuesday, September 30th, 2008, 11:12 AM
  5. How Often do you Use the Runes?
    By enslaved1896 in forum Runes & Sinnbildkunde
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: Friday, July 27th, 2007, 05:29 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •