This fragment of carved relief sandstone was discovered in 2009 on the banks of the Black Cart Water, close to the Renfrewshire village of Inchinnan. It has been identified as being the top left corner of a recumbent burial slab, 10th to 11th Century in date, and part of the early medieval ‘Govan School’ of carved stone sculpture.
The location of the discovery was significant, as the site lay close to the now demolished All Hallows Church, which was itself a replacement of the earlier medieval Inchinnan Old Parish Church, dedicated to St. Conval, who is thought to have established a monastery near the site around AD 600.
St. Conval was a disciple of St. Kentigern (aka Mungo), patron saint of Glasgow, and a contemporary of fellow Irish-born missionary, St. Mirren (AD 565-620), patron saint of Paisley.
In 1965 All Hallows was demolished to make way for an extension of Abbotsinch Airfield (now Glasgow International Airport), although the ruins of the church, along with its associated burial ground, tombstones, and manse, were Scheduled, i.e., included in the list of sites and monuments of national importance in 1972.
In particular, 3 substantial early medieval carved stones dating to between the 10th and 12th centuries AD were removed from the site of the old church after its demolition and reinstalled within an enclosure of the newly built Inchinnan Parish Church on Old Greenock Road: a recumbent burial slab (Inchinnan 1), a cross-shaft fragment (Inchinnan 2), and a possible shrine/sarcophagus lid (Inchinnan 3).
During the Early Medieval Carved Stones Project, Historic Environment Scotland included the cross-slab fragment discovered in 2009 with the 3 larger stones at Inchinnan Parish Church on the online Canmore catalogue, where it has been designated as Inchinnan 4, and provided with the same Statement of National Importance as the associated stones at Inchinnan Parish Church.
Author: Archie Henderson, Paisley Museum Store Decant Team