Namestone

Contributed by Museum of Hartlepool

This namestone is the Anglo-Saxon equivalent of a gravestone or other memorial to the dead. Although they contain information about specific individuals, we cannot be certain about where the stones were placed in relation to the grave. There is a lot that we do know about these namestones that makes them interesting and important.

This namestone is inscribed with letters, words and images. The central image is of a Christian cross. The other lettering on the stone spells out a person's name and makes a request: ORA PRO - pray for.

The scarcity of the namestones suggests that they were only used for the most important people. The majority of the Hartlepool namestones have female names inscribed on them. It is thought that they were reserved for the most devout and important nuns and a small number of important people. In a double monastery, ruled by an Abbess, this is perhaps not too much of a surprise.

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