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    PRE-CONQUEST CROSSES IN WHALLEY CHURCHYARD, LANCASHIRE

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    PRE-CONQUEST CROSSES IN WHALLEY CHURCHYARD, LANCASHIRE

    Post  Guest on Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:30 pm

    I here wish to draw your attention to the three standing crosses in the churchyard (the crosses do not stand in their original positions having being ‘thrown down’ during the Commonwealth and used amongst other things as farm gate-posts):

    1) THE EASTERMOST CROSS

    Standing opposite the chancel door (Priest’s Door, early 13th century retaining the original ironwork and bronze head knocker) is a much-worn cross shaft that only under certain lighting conditions that can any decoration is made out. It has scrollwork as pat of its ornament and a pelleted border. Two figures, heads surrounded by halos, can be made out just above the shaft centre. The head of the cross is not original but of the late 14th century. The cross originally stood over 11ft in height (see drawing reconstruction). Fragments of this cross are built into the fabric of the church, the top section of the shaft and parts of the cross head are held in Blackburn Museum. One fragment can be made out in the outside Chancel wall displaying the pelleted border and some scrollwork. Another fragment is built into the back wall of the Sedilia and is in good condition. A further fragment is built into the back wall of the Bishops Throne, last stall, south side, east adjacent the Sanctuary.

    The shaft is set in a broken oblong base that one may have held two or more shafts in the form of a ‘Calvary’.

    2) THE WESTERMONST CROSS

    Originally panelled crosses of this type were brightly painted in red, yellow, green, blue and white. All four sides are decorated but only the east face survives clearly enough to be made out. The shaft was divided into seven panels with roll-mouldings running along each of the panels, of which only six now exist (part of the upper panel, displaying the hallowed head of a figure and cross arm are held by Blackburn Museum). The two lowest panels and the top panel contain geometric and interlace patterns. Halfway is a sculptured panel containing a hallowed human figure, arms akimbo (raised as if giving a blessing). Either side of the figure are two serpents with open mouths. This design is repeated on the side face of the shaft along with two interlace panels. Above the figure panel is one depicting the figure of a bird (an eagle or pelican in her piety?). The lower panel shows that of a beast (a dog or a lion?).

    Crosses 1 &2 clearly show Hiberno-Norse influences, so named after the second and third generation Irish Norwegians who settled Lancashire in the 10th century whose artistic culture became dominant.

    3) THE CROSS OPPOSITE THE PORCH

    This magnificent cross is in a fair state of preservation, although a portion of the upper shaft and three arms of the head are missing. Originally it would have stood at around 10ft in height and is the oldest of the crosses being no later than the late 10th century. The central cross shaft measures approximately 2.2m high and is socketed into a square base stone carved with dog-tooth decoration. It is rectangular in cross section and tapers towards the top where it has been broken. A piece of the shaft about 0.75m in length is missing. All four sides of the shaft depict well preserved late 10th century decoration comprising foliated scrollwork. The principal ornamentation is on the east and west faces and consists of a central rounded shaft or pole rising from the apex of a gable. At the top of the shaft are the mutilated remains of the carved central boss of the cross head.

    The central rounded column forms the axis mundi (cosmic axis, world pillar), being a ubiquitous symbol that crosses human cultures. The image expresses a point of connection between the heavens and earth where the four compass directions meet. At this point travel and correspondence is made between higher and lower realms. Communication from lower realms may ascend to higher ones and blessings from higher realms may descend to lower ones and be disseminated to all. The spot functions as the omphalos (navel), the world's point of beginning.

    The axis mundi image appears in every region of the world and takes many forms: a hill or mountain (Pendle), a tree (Tree of Life, World Ash Tree, etc), a vine, a ladder (Jacob’s Ladder), a stone monolith, a maypole, Sufi whirling, etc. The foliated swirls represent interactive movement along the axis – transmission, unity within multiplicity.

    The axis mundi concept has its origins in Indo-European shamanism, and a universally told story is that of the healer traversing the axis mundi to bring back knowledge (benefits/blessings, etc) from the ‘other world’. The Sufi concept of baraka and the Hindu mystical concept of akasha are akin to this.

    All three crosses had cross heads of four arms of equal length, each widening at the outer end in an axe shape so that their rims nearly form a circle.
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    Paulus

    Join date : 2009-08-20
    Location : Yorkshire

    Re: PRE-CONQUEST CROSSES IN WHALLEY CHURCHYARD, LANCASHIRE

    Post  Paulus on Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:11 pm

    Ey up!

    These 'ere crosses are gonna end up on TNA eventually, with their own Profiles. Might have to nab some of wot you've written here John! Cool

    I just got misself a 1st Edition copy of Mr Taylor's awesome Ancient Crosses & Holy Wells of Lancs the other day, in which he's got some good old drawings & info on these, plus just about every other cross in the county! It's an absolutely gigantic work - I'm amazed tbh! bounce
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    Paulus

    Join date : 2009-08-20
    Location : Yorkshire

    Re: PRE-CONQUEST CROSSES IN WHALLEY CHURCHYARD, LANCASHIRE

    Post  Paulus on Sun Apr 17, 2011 8:21 am

    Hi John -

    I've just added the Whalley Crosses onto TNA, here:

    http://megalithix.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/whalley-crosses/

    Lemme know if there's owt that needs editing, or additional bits adding on.

    atb - Paul
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    Sunbright57

    Join date : 2011-02-10
    Age : 60
    Location : Nelson - the one in Lancashire sorry to say!

    Pre-Conquest Crosses in Whalley Churchyard.

    Post  Sunbright57 on Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:35 am

    Pre-Conquest Cross No 3 in Whalley Churchyard, Lancashire. Photo copyright Ray Spencer.
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    Paulus

    Join date : 2009-08-20
    Location : Yorkshire

    Re: PRE-CONQUEST CROSSES IN WHALLEY CHURCHYARD, LANCASHIRE

    Post  Paulus on Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:55 pm

    Bloody 'ell - that's a really nice photo Ray. Would you mind if I add it to John's write-up of the site? (I'll give due credit, obviously)

    Cheers - Paul
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    Sunbright57

    Join date : 2011-02-10
    Age : 60
    Location : Nelson - the one in Lancashire sorry to say!

    Pre-Conquest Crosses in Whalley Churchyard.

    Post  Sunbright57 on Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:03 pm

    Paul, thanks for the compliment. Yes please do put it on with John's article. I have photos of the other two crosses at Whalley as well, if you want to do something with them also. Cheers, Ray.
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    lowergate

    Join date : 2010-11-01
    Age : 68
    Location : CLITHEROE

    Re: PRE-CONQUEST CROSSES IN WHALLEY CHURCHYARD, LANCASHIRE

    Post  lowergate on Sat Apr 23, 2011 3:33 am

    Great photo's Ray, we should collaborate as we both seem to share a keen interest in ancient crosses & wells.

    If you ever get over to Preston Harris Mus' - try and get one of the Yarrow cross fragment - I'm hopeless with photos.

    Thanks Ray

    Best

    John
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    Sunbright57

    Join date : 2011-02-10
    Age : 60
    Location : Nelson - the one in Lancashire sorry to say!

    Whalley Cross Photos

    Post  Sunbright57 on Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:12 am

    Thanks for the compliment John, yes I do seem to do quite well with my photos. There are many places I would love to visit, but am reliant on a good friend taking me in his car, it's quite frustrating really. I have got new updated photos on Meg Portal of The Middop hillfort/ Earthworks and Admergill mound/ringworks if you want to have a gander. I do find crosses and holy wells fascinating though, but anything is of interest to me, even World War II pillboxes - to which I have scrambled under barbed-wire and over fences and gates to get photos, often doing myself an injury at the same time !! Cheer John. Ray.
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    Re: PRE-CONQUEST CROSSES IN WHALLEY CHURCHYARD, LANCASHIRE

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