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DOMINI 1591 ; this example is figured in the Archæologia Cambrensis, vol. iii. p. 318. Other slabs, with semi-effigies in bas relief, are figured in Gough, vol. ii. pl. iv., from Billesford and Thurleston, Leicester; Brandon, Suffolk ; and Appleby, Westmoreland.
Sometimes the cross was omitted, and we have only the head within a quatrefoil, though indeed the quatrefoil itself forms a cross; as in the very curious example from Lantwit Major, Glamorganshire, Plate LXVII. ; in the stones at East Markham, Notts., Plate Lxx.; Kingsbury, Warwickshire, Plate LxIx.; Brampton, Derbyshire, Plate LXIX.; at Tuxford, Notts., with chalice and paten below the quatrefoil; at Mansfield Woodhouse, Notts., with two heads, male and female, in quatrefoils. Sometimes the head of the cross is expanded into a large quatrefoil, in which the upper part of the deceased is represented, and the base of the cross into a trefoil where the feet appear, as in the interesting example from Gilling, Yorks., Plate Lxvii. A variety of this is at Norton Disney, Lincolnshire, Plate Lxx. In the well-known example from Staunton, Notts., of Sir William de Staunton, A.D. 1326, Plate LXVII., a helm or chapelle de fer and shield occupy the place of the cross; and a considerable part of the figure is seen.
Another very interesting example is at Corwen, Wales, Plate LXXI., where the half length of Jorwerth Sulien is represented in bas relief, on the upper part of the slab, and his feet at the bottom of the slab; while upon the flat middle part the chasuble, stole, and albe are represented by incised lines.
An example of similar character to this is at Bitton, Gloucestershire, where there is the effigy of a knight cross-legged, with one arm holding the shield upon his breast; the head, arms, and shield are in very low relief, the remainder of the figure merely incised. Mr. Albert Way shews this
figure to be that of Sir John de Bitton, who died c. A.D. 1227; figured in the Archæologia, vol. xxxi. pl. v. p. 268.
There are numerous examples of monuments, strictly coffin-lids, in which the whole figure is displayed in low relief; as that of Vitalis, at Westminster, A.D. 1082, and of Gilbertus Crispinus, at Peterborough, A.D. 1117; of the cross-legged knight and ladies at Cashel, Tipperary, Plate LXXIV.; of the lady at Gonalston, Notts., Archæol. Journal, vol. v. p. 11, &c.
A curious specimen of this kind which exists in Gedling church, Notts., is given in the margin. This singular stone --has been inserted here because it was very difficult to assign its place in the chronological series. Some of its features are those of a twelfth century design, and Dr. Rock considers it to be of this date, and to be the effigy of a canon regular of the order of St. Austin. The treatment of the design, however, is rather that of a late incised slab than that of a basrelief effigy; the costume appears to be a rudely drawn surplice and cassock, with the collar of a hood about the neck and a maniple over the left arm, the head moreover has no tonsure. These features would rather indicate that it is the effigy of a post-reformation priest; in some monumental brasses we find post-reformation priests similarly robed.
Some misapprehension has existed respecting these monuments with heads &c. upon them ; they have .generally been thought to be very rare, whereas they are by no means infrequent. Again it has sometimes been thought that the simple raised cross slab was gradually developed, through these, into the full-length effigy, which is not the case, for the full-length effigies are not uncommon at the end of the twelfth century, and during the thirteenth ; while the crosses with accompanying heads and half-length effigies, are most general in the fourteenth century. The above examples are not mentioned in the order of their date, this arrangement has been attempted in the plates.
The example on Plate LxxII., from Hendon, Yorkshire, exhibits a rare instance of a slab, in which the base of the cross is expanded into a canopied niche in which the deceased is represented, after a fashion sometimes found in monumental brasses.
The following remarks are applicable to both incised and raised cross slabs.
Cross slabs are found both in churches and in churchiyards, and in some positions they have a peculiar meaning. Thus the coffin-lid of the founder of a church was frequently very significantly placed as the foundation-stone at one of the eastern angles of the church. Both the eastern angles of the chancel of Attenborough church, Notts., thus rest upon the lids of stone coffins. The stone coffin of a founder, or benefactor, was also frequently placed under an arch in the north chancel wall, and formed the Easter sepulchre, as at Ratcliffe-on-Soar, Notts., and Raveningham, Norfolk.
Sometimes the arch is on the outside of the church, instead of the inside, as at Sawly, Notts., where there is a coffin-lid having on it an effigy in low relief, under a rude arch in the south chancel wall. In the exterior of the south chancel wall of Trumpington church, Cambridge, is a decorated arch, which has probably had a stone coffin under it. It has been suggested that these may be the tombs of persons who have died under penance or excommunication, and were therefore not admitted into the church.
It is very usual to find a cross slab as the threshold of one of the church doors, especially of the south door, or of the south porch ; denoting the humility of the deceased, or perhaps alluding to the text, “I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of ungodliness.” Some of the stones which we find in this position may very probably have been removed there merely to supply a worn threshold stone; but the instances in which we find them thus are very numerous, and in many cases the stone has all the appearance of being in its original position.
Cross slabs were sometimes laid amidst the encaustic tiles of the church floor, as in Plate L., Woodperry, and form a picturesque relief to the uniformity of the floor.
In the case of a layman, the foot of the cross is laid towards the east; in that of an ecclesiastic towards the west; for a layman was buried with his face to the altar, a cleric with his face to the people. This rule however was not invariably observed.
It is noticeable that the plain cross is very seldom used upon these monuments, but almost always an ornamented cross. The symbolists considered the plain cross to be the cross of shame, and we very rarely find it used in ancient Gothic work; the floriated cross was the cross of glory, and alluded to the triumph of our blessed Lord, and to our future triumph and glory through the cross; it is indeed the cross adorned with garlands. The circle round the cross, which we so often meet with, is intended probably for a nimbus or glory. Sometimes a smaller circle runs through the limbs of the cross, as in the example from Tankersley, Plate xliii., Melmerby, Plate Lii., &c., and may perhaps be intended to represent the crown of thorns : a gable cross at Louth church, Lincoln, has a crown of thorns thus placed. This cross, with a circle round it, is the foundation of very many of the designs, as Plates XLV., XLVI., LI., LVI., LXI., LXII., LXIII., &c., and all of the class mentioned in p. 23.
The amazing variety of pleasing designs which were made from the simple cross or from the combination of the cross and circle, is a good instance of the fertility of invention of the old designers. In the very great number of cross slabs which exist, the instances of the repetition