Saturday, 11 April 2009


Following yesterday's post, Jen wrote to say:

"Thanks for a fascinating Good Friday blog. The reliquary cross is exquisite, yet reminded me of a display of lead crosses in London's Science Museum..."

These crosses are very basic in their design and production: undecorated, with irregular edges and battered surfaces - were not found during the excavation of a London cemetery in shafts suggestive of an institutional system of burial.

Archaeologists Barney Sloane and Bruce Watson concluded that the bodies were most likely prisoners from nearby Newgate Gaol who had died of ‘gaol distemper’, or typhus, in the 1700s.

As no other lead burial crosses of this date have been reported, and documentary evidence is not yet found, Sloane and Watson can only speculate that, since they are clearly made by unskilled hands, the prisoners may have produced them for dying inmates - or themselves...

"Crudely fashioned," writes Jen, "they, too, are representative of faith and belief in what must have been dire times, moving in their simplicity and the mysterious circumstances surrounding them."

Image: Science Museum where you can read more

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