Welsh Journals

Search over 450 titles and 1.2 million pages

The RUTHIN Illustrated Magazine A MOHTHLY J00RHAL FOR ALL CLASSES. To Inform. To Instruct. To Amuse. No. 10. Vol. 1. NOVEMBER, 1879. TWO PENCE. ANCIENT CROSSES in the VALE OF CLWYD AND OTHER ECCLESIASTICAL REMAINS. BY THE BEV. ELIAS OWEN, M.A. Newmarket Cross. This is one of the very few perfect churchyard crosses that are still in existence. With the exception that is worn and aged, it is now pretty much what it was when erected. The cross stands upon a kind of platform, or step, and it consists of three parts, the pedestal, shaft, and head stone. There is a socket in the pedestal into which the shaft enters, and it is further secured by the filling up of the crevices with melted lead. The shaft, also pene¬ trates the cap stone. The step is, at present, unequal in dimensions, the opposite sides do not correspond in length ; thus, one side of this step measures 5 ft. 10 in., and the opposite one, 5 ft. 4 in , the other sides exhibit a similar descrepancy but they are longer than those now mentioned, the side nearest the church measures 0 it. 7 in. It is very probable that these differences are the result of time, and not of design, and in the orig¬ inal plan the opposite sides corresponded in length, but that by wear and tare they have deviated from their first position until they have become what they are now. The pedestal is 2 ft. 1 in. square at the bottom, but the sides are chamfered, and so it becomes at the top an oblong octagonal with opposite sides that measure re- pectively 2 ft. 1 in. and 6 inches. Its height is 1 ft. 8 inches. The shaft when it enters the pedestal is an oblong with sides that measure 8£ inches by 14 £ nches ; a few inches above the pedestal, it, likewise, assumes an octagonal oblong form, with somewhat unequal sides. The opposite sides are 5, 4, and 7 inches or thereabouts. The height of the shaft is 6 ft. 5 inches. It is a rather roughly dressed stone. Close to the pedestal on the east side of the shaft is a mark resembling a St. Andrew's cross, but which probably is a mason's mark. The head stone is a massive block of free stone. The east and west sides have figure* in relief with super canopy. The north and south sides have niches but no figures therein. On the east is a representation of the crucifixion scene. On each side oi the foot of the cross are figures of St. John and the Virgin. But a portion of the apostle has disappeared. On the west side is a simple crucifix in relief with ornamentations above consisting of cinquefoil and tracery. The east and west side of the cross are similarly treated. The other sides are plain recesses with trefoil and cinquefoil cuttings above the south and north nich respectively. There is a Fingular hole in the bottom of the north com¬ partment similar to one that is in the old and well preserved cross in Hanmer churchyard, and it is likely that a pole was inserted therein from which a light was suspended. This was the case with crosses on roods, especially on certain festivals of the Church and the probability is that such was the case with at least some of the churchyard crosses and it may be with wayside crosses. The cap stone measures in height 3 ft. 6 in. and the breadth 1 ft. 6 in. The total height of the cross is 11 feet 7 in., and consequently it is a prominent figure in the churchyard. The stones of which the cross consists might have been quarried in Llanasa parish which is the nearest place to Newmarket where free stone is to be procured. Possibly the cross belongs to the thirteenth century. (To be continued.)