Wirral’s greatest discovery brought back to life by Big Heritage

January 31, 2014
Gary Duckers

Wirral's most important discovery brought back to life after 1200 years.

Big Heritage are incredibly proud to share with you a 3D reconstruction of the Overchurch Runic Stone - arguably the most important artefact from Wirral's past. The 9th century stone originally lay in the grounds of Overchurch church (near Upton) and was re-used after its demolition to create nearby Upton Church. When this too was demolished the runic stone was discovered with its inscription still visible – translated as “The people erected a memorial...Pray for Æthelmund.”


About a quarter of the Overchurch runic stone survives, with the original stone about 1.2 metres long by about 60cm wide. It could have been the top of a sarcophagus but it was probably a monumental grave slab. A lot of these stone were found in the Viking period but the Overchurch stone comes from the earlier Anglo-Saxon time period, and is one of only three in Cheshire (of which the Wirral used to be a part of) from this period which means it is incredibly rare. It is also the only runic inscription from Cheshire, making it an incredibly important artefact, and something that the people of Wirral should be very proud of.


The reconstruction has been overseen by Big Heritage's Joanne Kirton, an expert in pre-conquest sculpture in Cheshire. Joanne has worked on the reconstruction of the Neston Crosses on behalf of Grosvenor Museum and reconstructed a Saxon Throne from Bamburgh Castle which was filmed by Channel 4's Time Team. Based on the digital reconstruction a full sized replica featured in the Wirral through the Ages pop-up museum alongside the original.


The model was created by Strange Case Collective and you can read more about the process here: Strange Case Blog: The Overchurch Runic Stone





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