1. Exquisite Tweets from @MedievalG, @34053, @DannyBate4, @todbooklady, @Dendrochronicle

    PreoccupationsCollected by Preoccupations

    If you spend a lot of time in churches you often come across examples of these - a 'consecration cross' - but few people today seem to understand their meaning. So a short thread. 1/10

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    MedievalG

    Medieval Graffiti

    In the medieval period, when a church was first built it had to be consecrated - essentially sanctifying and purifying the building for religious use. 2/10

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    MedievalG

    Medieval Graffiti

    This was undertaken usually by the local bishop, who would anoint the building with holy oil (chrism). 12 times outside & 12 times inside (English rite) - as being done here at Cluny by Pope Urban II in 1095. 3/10

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    MedievalG

    Medieval Graffiti

    The place where the chrism was applied was then marked with a cross - or possibly the cross was marked first. It's not totally clear. 4/10

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    MedievalG

    Medieval Graffiti

    According to Durand’s 1286 commentary on his pontifical, the Rationale divinorum officiorum, the crosses were there to "terrify the demons, so that when (they) have been expelled from there ... they will be terrified and not presume to return there" 5/10

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    MedievalG

    Medieval Graffiti

    The crosses vary in form, but by the C15th it was stated that they should be 'painted red and enclosed by a circle'. As a result, most surviving consecration crosses are compass drawn, equal armed, crosses. 6/10

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    MedievalG

    Medieval Graffiti

    There were exceptions of course - because we like a little variety - such as the rather elegant floriated crosses from Bale in Norfolk. 7/10

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    MedievalG

    Medieval Graffiti

    And sometimes the crosses weren't even crosses - but rather elaborate compass drawn designs - such as these still visible at Eaton church, Norfolk, and Cerne Abbas in Dorset. 8/10

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    MedievalG

    Medieval Graffiti

    Although every church once had these crosses, very few survive today. In many cases the pigment has totally gone, and all we are left with is the inscribed outline, such as this fragment from Tunstead, Nfk. 9/10

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    MedievalG

    Medieval Graffiti

    Occasionally people get it into their heads to 'restore' and repaint the consecration crosses in their church. This is NOT to be encouraged... (location withheld - but they know who they are...) 10/10

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    MedievalG

    Medieval Graffiti

    @VikingWaugh Because by doing so they are destroying any surviving medieval pigment, and if it is mentioned on the listing document, also committing an offence.

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    MedievalG

    Medieval Graffiti

  2. Did the practise continue after the medieval period? Here is an unusual 17th century example.

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    34053

    James Chatwin

  3. In England it was meant to cease at the reformation. However, we had a slightly different English rite anyway, and there are some examples that were most probably repainted at least post-reformation.

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    MedievalG

    Medieval Graffiti

  4. thank you for this wonderful thread - really cleared some things up for me. If I may, can I ask if you know anything about the consecration crosses at Carleton Rode All Saints? Some look 'restored', some not, but is it strange that they all have such different patterns?

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    DannyBate4

    Danny Bate

  5. They have been conserved. They are a lovely collection. Are they strange? Not particularly. Go and visit Bale. You'll like Bale. All different, and all unusual.

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    MedievalG

    Medieval Graffiti

  6. Handily labelled example, St Mary’s, Haddington, East Lothian, where I’ve been doing some dendrochronology sampling

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    Dendrochronicle

    Dr Coralie Mills