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Page 30, 14th December 1912

14th December 1912
Page 30
Page 30, 14th December 1912 — CONSECRATION CROSSES.
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Locations: Helwan

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CONSECRATION CROSSES.

SIR,—In your issue of Nov. 23, Mr. Frederick T. Hibgame inquires : "Whether it was customary in medimval times, when a church was consecrated, to place crosses on the exterior walls as well as on the interior ones. '

Since each number of THE TABLET is a week old by the time it reaches Egypt, and another week must go by before any reply to any question in it can be made this question will probably have long been answered when you read this reply. Possibly, however, it may not,. or it may have been answered with instances other than the one I am offering.

Mr. Hibgame will doubtless be pleased to find his example of exterior consecration crosses completely over-shadowed, in both dignity and age, by that of the noble and graceful cathedral of Salisbury. I speak from memory, away from my books and notes. But as far as I remember from my visits, I noticed on its outer walls as many as eight of such crosses—three each on the north and east walls, and two on the south. Just where we should expect to find the third on this wall come the sacristy buildings. Most probably, too, on the west front there are three more, but concealed by the statuary. They are almost invariably found on the face of the buttresses and cut in the stone which is part of the structure and not a later insertion. Those on the north wall and at the east end are quite plain, but those on the south, doubtless on account of their sheltered position, have been exquisitely embossed, and one of these is in a state of splendid preservation. In the interior of the cathedral are to be seen red crosses painted on the walls at the transept and west ends and in places exactly or nearly corresponding to those of the exterior.

As to whether exterior consecration crosses were" customary" in the Middle Ages, I do not think there will be found a number of examples sufficient to warrant our saying they were the rule.

Yours truly, ERNEST MOODIE. Helwan, Egypt, Dom. i Adventus, 1912.