History Scotland

MY LIFE AS A REPLICA

‘heaven in ordinarie’ […] It’s a base material, it’s a beautiful object. On one level it’s a replica, and on another level it’s totally the real deal. On one level it speaks less powerfully because it’s not the original stone, hand carved with mediaeval tools, but on another level, it’s an expression of another kind of workmanship, and of a transmutation of that eternal truth, from the 9th century through to the 20th century (Gertrude, a recent Iona resident)

In 1970 a concrete replica of the St John’s Cross arrived in Iona sitting incongruously on the deck of a puffer delivering the island’s annual supply of coal. Within a week it had been erected at the abbey, where the original cross had stood. The untold story of this intriguing

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