Celtic Cross (2)

CatholicSaints

Marysville, United States

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A distinctive Insular tradition of erecting monumental stone high crosses began by the 8th century.

Inspiration for high crosses came from earlier versions created from wood while some were faced in metalwork.

A variety of ‘Celtic’ crosses bear inscriptions in ogham: an early medieval alphabet.

Standing crosses in Ireland and areas under Irish influence tend to be shorter and more massive than their Anglo-Saxon equivalents, which have mostly lost their headpieces.

Irish examples with a head in Celtic cross form include the Cross of Kells, Ardboe High Cross, the crosses at Monasterboice, the Cross of the Scriptures, Clonmacnoise and those in Scotland at Iona and the Kildalton Cross, which may be the earliest to survive in good condition.

Surviving, free-standing crosses are located in Cornwall, including St Piran’s cross at Perranporth, and Wales.

Other stone crosses are found in the former Northumbria and Scotland, and further south in England, where they merge with the similar Anglo-Saxon cross making tradition, in the Ruthwell Cross for example.

Most examples in Britain were destroyed during the Protestant Reformation.

By about 1200 A.D., the initial wave of cross building came to an end in Ireland.

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