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Tyne and Wear HER(12201): Monkwearmouth, Church of St. Peter, medieval grave slabs - Details

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Monkwearmouth, Church of St. Peter, medieval grave slabs



Religious Ritual and Funerary

Grave Marker

Grave Slab




An interesting collection of medieval cross slabs, some of which may date from soon after Aldwine's re-foundation of the monastery. These are now displayed on shelves in a passage in the modern vestry and chapter house block on the north side of the chancel. 1) The upper part of a slab of brown sandstone, 0.51m x 0.36m, bearing an incised design. Slender straight-armed cross with a circle enclosing its head and four smaller circles set between the arms. Late C11 or early C12 (Fyson No. 14). 2) The lower part of a slab of brown sandstone, 0.49m x 0.30m x 0.25m. Incised design of a broad cross shaft (like another example at Bishopwearmouth church) and a two-step calvary base. Not dateable. 3) An almost complete slab of yellow-brown sandstone, 0.74m x 0.29m x 0.26m. The design is incised except for sunken panels in the cross head, which is an unusual variant on the common bracelet form, with a circle enclosing the head centre. The shaft still shows its central setting-out line. It rises from an unusual mount which looks more like two-thirds of a sphere than the more usual semicircle. Late C12 or early C13 (Fryson No. 19). 4) The lower part of a slab of brown sandstone, 0.52m x 0.34m. A section of the base is missing. Incised cross shaft and the upper part of a stepped calvary. Not dateable. 5) Part of a headstone, 0.41m x 0.35m, of magnesian limestone. The right side has been broken off. A disc set on a rectangular plinth. There is a cross in relief within a circular sunken panel inside the disc, surrounded by a line of nail-head ornament. The cross is an unusual variant upon the four-circle form. The nail-head ornament would suggest a date in the first half of the C13 (Fyson No. 17). 6) A complete slab of coarse brown sandstone, 0.71m x 0.32m x 0.27m, in good state of preservation. The worked surface has a square edge raised above the broad chamfer running around the stone. The design is mostly incides and shows a cross with its head enclosed by a quatrefoil, with trefoils facing inwards between the arms. Two pairs of leaves spring from the cross shaft, which rises from a trefoiled arch base. C13 or early C14 (Fyson No. 10). 7) The upper part of a limestone slab 0.80m x 0.48m x 0.39m. The surface is flaking badly. A straight arm cross with simple fleur-de-lys terminals. Later C13 or early C14 (Fyson No. 12). 8) Complete limestone slab, 0.85m x 0.35m x 0.26m. Surface is badly flaked. This is a bracelet cross rising from a two-stepped calvary base. The decoration is mostly incised, except for the cross head which is carved in relief within a sunken circle. Late C12 or early C13 (Fyson No. 18). 9) Upper part of a brown sandstone slab 0.67m x 0.45m x 0.42m. Incised design almost identical to slab No. 1. The left edge has a later moulding of twin rolls, perhaps when it was reused as an architectural feature. Late C11 or early C12 (Fyson No. 13). 10) The upper part of a yellow-brown limestone slab, 0.51m x 0.37m. This is a bracelet-form cross, carved in relief within a sunken circle. The bracelets have unusually wide openings and are cut square at the ends (like an example from Durham Cathedral). The cross shaft is incised. This may be an Early Geometric piece of early or mid C12 (Fyson No. 11). 11) Fragment of the central part of a stone, 0.25m x 0.29m. Whitish sandstone bearing an incised design. The cross shaft has shears on the left. Undateable. 12) Complete yellow-brown sandstone slab. 1.46m x 0.38m x 0.30m. Now lying inside the base of the west tower against the north wall. Incised design. The cross head is based on the cup terminal form and is enclosed within a circle (like 3 examples from St. Mary's Church in Lanchester). The cross shaft rises from a semi-circular mount and on its right is a sword with a disc-like pommel. Perhaps mid C12 (Fyson No. 21). 13)Complete limestone slab, 1.44m x 0.52m x 0.38m. Now lying inside the base of the west tower against the south wall. Relief design. Some unusual features. The cross head is




Peter F. Ryder, 1985, The Medieval Cross Slab Grave Cover in County Durham, Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland Research Report No. 1, p 107-8; Mrs D.R. Fyson, 1957, A note of the work of the late C.C. Hodges with a selection of his unpublished drawings, Archaeologia Aeliana, 4th Series, Vol. 35, pp. 129-136

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