Cross: OS Grid Reference – SE 078 421
Archaeology & History
A little-known early christian relic found in the driveway to East Riddlesden Hall was saved and propped up in the stable floor at the back. In 1984 however, the National Trust got round to moving it and bringing the relic to greater public attention by putting it on display in the great hall of the building. (I think you’ve gotta pay to go in and see the stone these days – which is a bittova pain if you just want to examine the carving)
Measuring just 1 foot across and 2 feet high and carved on all sides, the design is all too familiar to those of you exploring early christian or late-Celtic art forms. Executed sometime between the 5th-10th century, on the main face of the cross we have the traditional ‘Celtic’ interlacing, with a bird-figure emerging on or around an early ‘cross’ symbol. There are a variety of interpretations of this, but none relate to any modern christian mythic structures. Indeed, we should cautiously reflect on the more pre-christian nature of this design: carved as it was at a time when the spirit of the natural world (animism) was endemic amongst all people. This carving would in some way reflect such implicit subjectivity, though perhaps have had emergent ideals relevant to the christian cult within it. However, we should be cautious about this christian idea, despite it being much in vogue by prevailing groups of consensus trance intellectuals.
Faull, Margaret L., “The Display of the Anglo-Saxon Crosses of the Keighley Area,” in Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society, New Series no.30, 1986.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian