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Celtic Stone Crossesby Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Origins as a Sun Cross
Scholars speculate that the Celtic Cross developed from the sun cross, solar cross, sun wheel, etc., a pre-Christian symbol found in northwest Europe and Scandanavia — a cross inside a circle, or a four-spoked wheel. When Christianity came to Ireland and Scotland, Christians extended the bottom spoke of this familiar symbol to remind them of the cross on which their new Savior was crucified.
A pre-Christian symbol, the solar cross or sun-cross is found in neolithic rock carvings in France, Scandanavia, etc.
An early sunwheel cross can be found at St. Dogmael's Abbey, Deyfed, west Wales (Pennick, The Celtic Cross, p. 25.).
Christ Pantocrator, dome mosaic (1090-1100 AD) from the Church of Daphne in Athens, shows Christ with sun-cross halo.
Ruthwell Cross (650 to 850 AD). The Cross is seventeen feet four inches tall and must sit in a well four feet deep to serve as the high cross for the church."With the comparable cross at Bewcastle it is undoubtedly the most important sculptural survival from Anglo-Saxon Britain and arguably from early medieval Europe" (Cassidy 3).
Halwyn wayside cross.
Wayside crosses are found at stopping places of missionaries, where they preached and prayed. Some of these were later marked as sacred places with crosses. Many ancient cross are found in Cornwall.
- Halwyn wayside cross, Cornwall
- St. Kew Cross, Cornwall. The cross was found in 1924 as part of a footbridge. It is now located in the churchyard at St. Kew church.
- St. Pillack's wheel-headed cross, 9th-10th century AD, in the churchyard. Crude figure on cross.
- St. Dennis churchyard cross, Cornwall.
Isle of Man Crosses
A number of ancient stone crosses and cross slabs have been found on the Isle of Man at Kirk Andreas, Kirk Ballaugh, Kirk Braddan, Kirk Lezayre, Kirk Lonan, Kirk Maughold, Kirk Michael, and Kirch Onchan.
- St. Brynach's Cross, Nevern Dyfed, Wales
- St. Martin's High Cross, Iona Close-up. Another.
- St. Martin's Cross, Iona Abbey, eighth century.
- Kildalton Cross, Kilmorie, Knapdale, Strathclyde. Ninth-century.
Irish Stone Crosses
The Monasterboice Tall (or West) Cross is made of sandstone, at 6.45 m. high, it is the tallest High Cross in Ireland. It is dated in the 10th century. This view shows the east side with the Last Judgment. This is the cross used for the Joyful Heart Renewal Ministries logo. More information.
- Monastery Clonmacnois, in central Ireland.
Muiredach's Cross, Ireland. Another. Several other views. Erected in memory of Muiredach, Abbot of Monasterboice (d. 922 AD). Muiredach Cross (900-923 AD), east side, Monasterboice, County Louth, 16' high, is considered the finest cross in Ireland. West side.
- Irish Celtic Crosses
Gallery of Irish Stone Celtic Crosses, Photography by Matt Kelley
- Irish High Crosses
- Irish High Crosses
- Clint Albertson, SJ, High Crosses of Ancient Ireland. Site rich with pictures.
- Moone High Cross, Co. Kildare
- Glendalough Celtic Cross
- Kilfenora, County Clare, 9th-10th century
England Stone Crosses
- Aspatria Cross, St. Kentigern's Church, Aspatria (Cumbria)
- Viking Cross, wheel-head Gosforth (Cumbria). Tall 4.5 metre cross, 940 AD. Cut down in 1789 to make a sundial base. Now restored.
- Bakewell Cross, Anglian cross, churchyard, Bakewell, Derbyshire
FreeFoto.com stone crosses
Norway Vestvågøy - 16, The Stone Crosses
- Sandbach Crosses
- Neston Crosses
- West Park Crosses, Macclesfield
- Prestbury Saxon Cross
- Saxon cross fragments, St Mary's Sandbach
A khatchkar (stone cross) in the churchyard at Hairavank Monastery (western shore of Lake Sevan).
Crosses surrounding the Rock of Cashel
Celtic Cross, unknown location
stone carvings at St Berrihert's Kyle
In the graveyard of St. Mary's Church, Whitby, overlooking the bay some 199 steps below, stands a modern cross clearly inspired by the Ruthwell Cross. Photo. Photo. Caedmon Cross, Whitby. This photo is from the St. Hilda webpage
Aberlemno church Pictish Cross slab Another. Another. Another.
Peace Cross, St. Albans Preparatory School, Washington DC. Close-up.