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A very great number of these churchyard crosses still remain in a more or less perfect state ; some of them are highly curious for their antiquity and for the sculpture and inscriptions upon them; and many of them are very beautiful for their design and execution. A glance at a collection of drawings of these crosses is enough to show that they are naturally divided, by strongly-marked characteristics of design, into two broad classes. In one class we at once recognize architectural forms and ornaments of the same character as those with which we are familiar in our Gothic churches; in the other class of designs the forms are more rude and primitive, and the ornamentation of barbaric taste. We may call them the pre-Gothic and the Gothic classes. But it is desirable to say at once, in order to prevent error,
of the crosses of pre-Gothic design are of Gothic date; for in
remote parts of the kingdom the earlier types of design continued to be used throughout the Gothic ages, and even down to a very recent period. Among the primitive crosses two types of design at once catch the eye. The first is a short plain cross with equal arms fixed in a massive stone for a base; sometimes a rude figure of the crucified Saviour, carved in relief, stands, rather than hangs, upon one side of the cross. These quaint forms have a very primitive look; and some of them are said, by antiquaries, to be really of very venerable age. We give a representation of one wbich is attached to some ruins which bear the name of “the Sanctuary,” in the parish of St. Buryan, Cornwall. It is a plain cross of stone, about two feet high, and two feet wide, and one foot thick, fixed by way of base into a large stone, about three feet square, and a foot and a half high. On one side is carved, in low relief, a rude figure of the Saviour, clothed, with hands tended horizontally, and feet apart. The Rev. Mr. Haslam, good Cornish antiquary, to whose paper in the “ Archæological Journal," iv. 305, we are indebted for the knowledge of
inclined to attribate it to the Roman Christians, because it is unlike the other ancient crosses which remain in this county; and because in the squareness and massiveness of its proportions it possesses something of a Byzantine character, and resembles in form the few illustrations which are preserved of the old crosses of Constantinople.” But the great majority of these pre-Gothic crosses consist of a tall shaft let into a great block of more or less rudeness for security, and surmounted by a cruciform head, and on this cruciform head we commonly find a combination of the cross and circle. Sometimes a plain circle of stone encloses the limbs of the cross within its circumference; sometimes it is as if a slender ring of stone pierced through the massive limbs of the cross to bind them together. Of this latter kind we give plain and simple examples from Castle-Keiran churchyard, county Meath, Ireland: it is a very common type in the sister island. But frequently the shaft of the
cross, and sometimes the head also, is ornamented with sculpture in low relief. This sculpture is usually purely ornamental: panels filled with geometrical patterns, formed by interlacing bands; foliage running in scrolls from bot. tom to top of the shaft — sometimes this foliage, with a beautiful significance, represents the vine, in mani. fest allusion to the True Vine, whose blood is drink in
deed; sometimes monstrous animals are introduced, half-lizard, half-serpent, whose tails go off into the usual interlaced bands; animal forms and hunting scenes occur; more rarely there are human heads, or full length figures, or scriptural and legendary scenes ; and occasionally inscriptions occur to tell by whom and on what occasion the cross was erected. The ornamentation on these crosses is of precisely the same kind as that which we find in the great initial letters of the illuminated MSS. of the Irish and Saxon schools; there can be no doubt that many of the crosses are of very early date, ranging between the seventh and twelfth
centuries. We give an example from Arboe, county Angus, Scotland, of one of the designs of higher character, in which the artist has represented groups and scriptural scenes. The Gothic class of churchyard cross is usually of very different design. In the pre-Gothic type, as we have seen, the
proportions are massive, and the cross form of the head is simple and well developed. In the Gothic, the base and shaft are more slender, elegant, and architectural in design; and the head is rather a piece of elaborate sculptured tabernacle work than a
There are often little details of moulding or ornament which enable the antiquary to assign a cross to the thirteenth, fourteenth, or fifteenth centuries; but the general character of their design is the same throughout the Gothic period. The typical form is a base, consisting of three or more steps, square, octagonal, or more rarely round, in plan; upon this is placed a plinth, which is often ornamented with sculpture. From the plinth rises a tall tapering shaft, square or octagonal in section, and sometimes enriched with sculpture; the shaft has very
.95 commonly a capital, and upon the capital is carried the crown and apex of the design. Few of them are now perfect, but there are a few; and in many hundreds of instances the bare and broken shaft remains, and seems to invite restoration. From the few which remain perfect in England, and from others which are to be met with abroad, we gather that sometimes the crown of the design was a foliated cross; sometimes there was a crucifixion on one side of the cross, and a Virgin and Child on the other; but most commonly there seems to have been a piece of tabernacle work containing a group of saints or sacred personages arranged under ornamental canopies. We give a representation of a cross which has somehow escaped mutilation, from Somersby, Lincolnshire, and which has the peculiarity of a little crocketed and
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gabled pent-house of stone placed over the cross to protect the figures beneath. On one side of the cross is a figure of the crucifix, on the other is a Virgin and Child. Yet another perfect cross, represented on the opposite page, is preserved in the grounds of the old episcopal
palace at Lincoln, where it occupies the southern slope of the hill, crowned by the glorious minster. It stands in a picturesque little grassy hol. low with trees around; the ruins of the old palace, with the towers of the cathedral rising high behind them, form the background of a charming picture.
The great majority of the churchyard crosses were merely ornamental and symbolical. But, as the town
crosses were sometimes developed into a shelter for the market people, and became marketcrosses, so we find a few curious examples in which the churchyard cross has undergone a similar adaptation. In some instances it was developed into a pulpit, and became a preaching cross. For open-air preaching is anything but a modern invention. We have seen that it was for ages the ordinary practice of the English church in country places; and even when churches and chapels abounded, far, probably, beyond the ordinary needs of the people, open-air sermons still continued to be a regular part of the church's machinery for occasional addresses to the people. St. Paul's cross is the most popular example of the preaching cross; a woodcut of it, with some popular bishop preaching before the corporation of London, has been so often published that it is probably familiar to our readers.
But preaching crosses existed in many other places besides St. Paul's Churchyard. There is a picturesque example still remaining at Hereford, beside the ruins of the friary of the Dominicans—the Preach
ing Friars, par excellence. It is a hexagonal stone pulpit mounted on steps and a plinth, covered by a canopy, under which the preacher stood, like a saint in his canopied niche; and the canopy is carried up into a cross. An old alder tree has taken root in a crack of the steps, and one branch has twined into one of the open arches of the pulpit and clasped the central shaft, and issued out at another arch to spread its foliage in the air and sunshine, and adds very much to the picturesqueness of this interesting monument. Such preaching crosses were not confined to cathedrals and convent yards. There is a very handsome example of one of the fifteenth century in Iron-Acton churchyard, Gloucestershire, of which we CROSS IN THE GROUNDS OF THE BISHOP'S PALACE, LINCOLN. give a woodcut on the next page. The base is multisided, rising in two steps; upon the upper step stands a tall square canopy, composed of angle piers, carrying ogee arches. Three of the open sides of this canopy have a slight transom of stone across, at half the height; the fourth side forms the door by which the preacher entered it; its floor is raised a pace above the base, and there is a little step outside to facilitate the preacher's entrance. Above the canopy rises an octagonal shaft of the ordinary kind, broken off at half its height. The churchyard cross at Rampisham, Dorsetshire, seems also to have been a preaching cross, but of a different fashion. It consists of the remains of a cross elevated on three ranges of steps, to the east side of which is annexed a long stone like an altar-tomb; but from the four holes in it and in the steps, it seems rather to have served as a place to preach from, and to have been covered with a temporary pent-house or awning.