A High Cross is a standing cross with a circle, made of stone and often richly ornamented. High Crosses exist from the 7th century in Ireland, and were later seen in Scotland and in Wales. The Irish High Cross has become more famous because of its distinctive shape (the ringed Celtic Cross), the mount ornamentation, and for the quality of their decoration. The ring initially served to strengthen the head and the arms of the High Cross, but it soon became a decorative feature as well. The High crosses were status symbols, either for a monastery or for a sponsor or patron.
The early 8th century crosses had only geometric motifs, but from the 9th and 10th century, biblical scenes were carved on the crosses. There were no crosses after the 12th century .Celtic is a generic title for the type of crosses common to the ancient peoples of Britain, Cornwall, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. They range in style from crosses carved on the tops of columns (as at Inverary) to crosses carved on monoliths (as on the Isle of Man) to the great standard crosses of Ireland (such as the Drumcliff cross).
The super cross at Iona is another example of the third type. Some of these crosses have circle around the crucial point, but it is difficult to determine whether these circle were originally devised for the purpose giving support to the arms, or for purely symbolic reasons.
The rich incisions and carvings are common to Byzantium and Gaul, but numbers of these existing crosses seem to receive their immediate inspiration through the Vikings and the Danes.