Side C of the West Kirby hogback – almost never photographed and discussed

Today I went on an expedition to see the early medieval recumbent stone West Kirby 4. Popularly known as the West Kirby hogback, the stone has since 1999 been situated in St Bridget’s church, West Kirby.

En route to West Kirby – a serious stone selfie

I have previously discussed the monument and my ideas about it in blog post here when I visited with Drs Ben Edwards, Seren Griffiths and Patricia Murrieta-Flores. I then discussed it here after I presented my preliminary ideas to the Merseyside Archaeological Society in January 2015. I have also discussed whether they should be called ‘hogbacks’ or perhaps instead FKAHs (Formerly Known As Hogbacks).

Before Christmas, I wrote up my research on the West Kirby 4 monument into a rough draft article and circulated it to colleagues. Over Christmas I revised it up to an advanced draft and I am circulating it again. I plan to submit to a journal in the next month.

In my forthcoming article I critique past interpretations and representations, including the bias towards discussing and displaying side A. I then present a refined reading of this monument based on first-hand observations and its possible significance for West Kirby and its region.

This photograph of the centre-top of West Kirby 4 reveals a range of details hitherto un-explored and undiscussed

Today, I was also keen to check details regarding the monument’s ornamentation and form. In doing so, I think I have identified at least two, possibly three, key new features to the monument hitherto not recognised or interpreted that I will be discussing in my article.

It strikes me as odd that such a well-researched monument on public display can still reveal new basic observations that provide the foundation for now suggestions regarding its design and significance. Its always a delight and surprise to see new things on stones seemingly familiar and ‘understood’.

Whether my article is accepted for publication or not, this experience of exploring West Kirby 4 has built my confidence in interpreting the fragmentary and varied early medieval stone monuments across these islands.

Face A of West Kirby 4