Welsh Journals

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azine To Inform. To Instruct. To Amuse. No. 6. Vol. 1. JULY, 1879. TWO PENCE. ANCIENT CROSSES in the VALE OP CLWYD AND OTHER ECCLESIASTICAL REMAINS. BY THE REV. ELIAS OWEN, M.A. Corwbn Cross. Pennant in his Tour through Wales when speaking of Corwen mentions this cross as follows :—" A most singular cross in the churchyard merits attention : the shaft is let into a fiat stone, and that again is supported by four or five rude stones, as if the whole had been formed in imitation of, and in veneration of the sacred Cromlechs of very early time." The fiat stone into which the shaft enters is still in exist¬ ence, but the stones upon which it rested, aud which were prominently seen in Pennant's time, are now not so strikingly visible. I did not notice \ any suoh stones. The stone base, however, which supports the shaft was, when I visited Corwen, much hidden by rank grass and also in one part by a well grown bush, and this might have been the cause that the stones mentioned by Pennant were not visible when I inspected the cross. The old cross of Llanelidau had a base much like this at Corwen, but other crosses in the neighbourhood were differently constructed. It would have added much to the interest of this, and other crosses, if they had been somewhat elaborately described in times gone by in the Church registers or other parochial books, and now it would not be amiss if all monuments in and outside our churches were accurately copied into a book kept for that pnr- pose. But to return to Corwen cross. It stands in the west part of the churchyard. The cap stone has disappeared. The cross probably is now as it was in Pennant's time, but of this we cannot be certain, as crosses have been destroyed within the present century; thus, Llanelidan cross, above alluded to, was, I was informed, done away with by a clergyman therein officiating not many years ago. But Corwen cross most prob¬ ably is as it was in Pennant's time. It is remarkable that so many crosses should be in existence in these parts of Wales when they have entirely disappeared from other parts. The commission appointed in Elizabeth's reign to destroy crosses, roods, &c, do not appear to have reached the Vale of Clwyd and the country around, or if they did, they only partially carried out their injunctions, and mutilated instead of de¬ stroying these ancient remains. The Corwen cross, consists of a shaft, square at the base, but which as it tapers upwards, becomes an oblong ; the dimensions at the base, are 12 inches by 12 inches ; at the top, underneath the capital, 10 inches by 8 inches. The angles of the shaft are pared away and a groove runs up each side there¬ of. This simple contrivance destroys the bareness of the stone and beautifies it. The capital, into which the cap or head stone descended, is a part of the shaft, it slightly projects from the shaft, aud measure, at the top, 11 inches by 8 inches ; and into it is cut a socket which measures 6 inches by 4 inches and a half, and 6 inches deep. This socket received the head stone. The capital resembles a shield in form being circular in the bottom, and rectangular at the top, and it has on the east side interlaced rope-like ornamentations. Tiie total length of the shatt including the capital which measures 10£ inches is 85£ inches. On the east side of the shaft is a curious ornament, which may be taken to represent either a cross, or dagger or sword, it certainly resembles the latter more than the forimr, and it is singular that the stone which forms the lintel of the priest's door, on the south side ot the church, is similarly marked. Local tradition speaks of these as being the impress of daggers. When the church was restored a sword was discovered. Putting all these things together it is probable that local tradition gives the key note to an event which thess sword drawings were intended to perpetuate but which in the lapse of time ha3 been lost. The stone into which the shaft descends is fairly circular, and measures about 64 inches in diameter ; in thickness, 12 inches. It is a slate stone, suoh as is found in the neighbourhood ; the shaft is a hard gritlike stone, foreign to those parts of the country. At present the shaft declines slightly, but there is no immediate danger of its toppling over. (To be continued.)