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Oct 14, 2013

Medieval Mondays: Archaeologists Discover Anglo-Saxon Cross

West Face, showing Christ trampling on the beasts and St. John as a falconer.

Last month archaeologists in Weardale, County Durham in northern England, discovered a portion of an Anglo-Saxon cross dating to the 8th century. This isn't a picture of it. This is the Bewcastle Cross, which dates to the same century or a bit earlier. The archaeologists in Weardale found only a worn fragment. Hit the link above to see a picture of this intriguing lump and read about the discovery.

While the Weardale cross is in a lab getting photographed, drawn, and studied, you can actually visit the Bewcastle Cross. It's located at St Cuthbert's church in Bewcastle, Cumbria, northern England. As you can see it's lost its crossbar, either through weathering or during the English Civil War when various hardcore Christian factions destroyed anything that smacked of "Popism".

One side is covered with figures and an inscription in Runic that reads, "This slender pillar Hwætred, Wæthgar, and Alwfwold set up in memory of Alefrid, a king and son of Oswy. Pray for them, their sins, their souls." Another Runic inscription reads, "In the first year (of the reign) of Egfrid, king of this kingdom [Northumbria]."

The other sides have elaborate designs and the earliest sundial in England. Jump the cut to see a picture. This cross, along with the Ruthwell Cross, are considered the two finest Anglo-Saxon crosses in existence.

Photos courtesy Tom Quinn (top) and Doug Sim (bottom).



South and east faces of the cross.



9 comments:

  1. Shame it was damaged. Still beautiful though.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Cool; and its in an old cemetary.

    ......dhole

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