Location: Colonsay and Oronsay
worship, archaeology

The Sanctuary Cross and Hangman's Rock

The Strand is the stretch of sand and mud flats that separate the islands of Colonsay and Oronsay. It almost dries up at low tide, and half-way across is a cross of loose stones laid flat on the sand. This what the remains of the Sanctuary Cross, one of two crosses once erected in the middle of the Strand.

A line between them formed an ancient boundary between the two islands. Anyone who fled Colonsay accused of a crime and who reached this boundary could claim sanctuary under the protection of the monastery on Oronsay. The cross of loose stones is laying about 100 yards west of where one of the crosses stood. To the east of the Strand is a large, overhanging rock with a hole through the middle of it known as ‘Hangman's Rock’. The story is that, if criminals did not make it to the Sanctuary Cross before being detained, they were hung from this rock!

More information on visiting the area can be found here.