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* This, in conjunction with the story of Bede, makes it seem inevitable that the cross belongs to the seventh century, and that it is, in fact, the burial stone of Bishop Tuda.'
This celebrated reading' was made in 1857. Two years later, Rev. John Maughan announced another reading and translation:
Then, after various attempts by different hands, R. Carr Ellison announced his reading in 1866:
O, thou loved
Finally in Calverley' is quoted the most recent version. Here the language is supposed to be ‘Manx Gaelic,' and the author of this reading is a Mr. John Rogers:
'(This cross was)
rest in the keeping
At this point the plague-stricken bishop of the seventh century has vanished rather completely, together with our confidence in any testimony from Mr. Haigh.
The fragment of a cross at Yarm may be dismissed briefly. It is sufficient to quote the evidence in its favor. It bears an inscription showing that it was erected by "... berecht Bishop, in memory of his brother.” Professor Earle, of Oxford, reads the name “Hireberecht”; but Professor Stephens makes it “Trumberecht" and identifies him with the Bishop of Hexham of that name, A. D. 681. By similar identification by the reading of 'St. Gacobus' on the shaft of a cross at Hawkeswell, it is supposed to commemorate a deacon of St. Paulinus mentioned by Bede. This concludes all the evidence for the existence of interlaced crosses before the eighth century.
* Eccles. Hist. Bk. 3, chap. 26-27. Archæologia Æliana 6, 61, quoted by Calverley, p. 29. 8 p. 31.
Of the eighth century there are three, at Alnmouth, Harkness, and Thornhill. Of the Alnmouth fragment, Stephens gives a description on pages 461-2 of his Runic Monuments. All that he can make out is a few meaningless fragments of words, but Mr. Haigh (to quote Stephens) 'fills up the words thus,' and get an inscription which reads:
(This is King E) Adulf's th(ruh) (grave-kist)
Myredah me wrought
Hludwyg me fayed (inscribed). We have already seen something of Mr. Haigh's work at deciphering and 'filling up. But because the forms of the letters on this fragment' resembles those on the Ruthwell Cross,' he feels sure that it can not be later than the begining of the eighth century! The word Adulf that he reads and 'fills up,' he identifies, therefore, as the name of a King Aedulf of the early eighth century. This needs no comment.
The Harkness Cross fragments are on the site of an ancient monastery founded by St. Hilda of Whitby. Accordingly, on one, Mr. Haigh reads:
Huaethburga, thy houses always remember thee, most loving mother. Blessed Aethilburga! For ever may they remember thee, dutifully mourning! May they ask for thee verdant rest, in the name of Christ, venerable mother.
Trecea Bosa, Abbess Aethilburga pray for us. These sound characteristic of Mr. Haigh. No. 3 is inscribed with the name 'Bugga.'
The persons named in this reading, who have been 'identified,' lived anywhere from the beginning to the end of the eighth century. Stephens himself gives these fragments the dates 700-800. If we accept Haigh's reading, it is perfectly reasonable to suppose that the stones were erected in the ninth century, after the death of the latest of the godly persons mentioned, who are asked to pray for the souls of their friends who remain on earth. However, there is no reason why we should accept a reading by Haigh until it has been confirmed by some one else.
For the two Thornhill fragments ascribed to the eighth century, we have to depend again upon the readings of Mr. Haigh. Upon one he finds the name Aethuini; on another, the inscription: ‘Eadred Isete aefte Eata Inne.' The word inne presents difficulty at first, but as it is derived probably from innan, 'to enter,' it must mean 'hermit,' i. e., a man who enters a cave. This is confirmed' by a passage in Simeon of Durham. It is an entry, dated in the middle of the eighth century, as follows: 'Eata obiit in Craic apud Eboracum. Of a date some twenty or twentyfive years later, there is another entry: ‘Etha anachoreta feliciter in Cric obiit.' Doubtless if Etha died in Cric or Craic, and was an anchorite, Eata, who died in the same locality, must have been a hermit too, and probably they were successive occupants of the same cell.' In the Liber Vitae about the middle of the eighth century are the names Aethelwini and Eadhelm. The former is undoubtedly the same as the Aethwini of one fragment, and Eadhelm 'there can be no difficulty in admitting as the full form of Eata.' Hence, these stones belong to the eighth century.
Still, the runes about Eata and Aethwini, Mr. Haigh admits, are ' not very legible.'
* Yorkshire Arch. Journ. 4. 426 ff.
If we turn from this style of reasoning to the reproduction of the stones themselves, we find the ornament on one side is a conventional foliage, and on the other an interlaced dragonesque design, both of which are accepted as the marks of the ornament which, at any rate, belong to a time after the Carolingian Renaissance and in the period of Scandinavian influence.
So far we have found no trustworthy evidence for the existence of the interlaced cross before the ninth century, and there is nothing in the way of what would, at first, seem the natural and reasonable supposition that the interlaced cross was a product of Irish influences, and that it did not appear in England before the ninth century.
In our classification of crosses, we have made two divisions: the Pillar-Stones, with a simple cross incised, and the Interlaced Crosses, with their cross-form and wealth of ornament. But between these two lies an intermediary class, where the monolith develops into the cruciform shape, and is sometimes adorned with simple ornament. The cross-fragment in Calverley, on page 81, another on page 6, and a third on page 96, are probably examples of this class, and there are a great many of them in Western Cornwall. But they are unimportant for our consideration here, as they simply bridge the step between the rude Pillar-Stones and the Interlaced Crosses.
To contrast the plain incised cross upon the original pillar-stone with the elaborate ornament which adorned the interlaced cross at the height of its development, I subjoin Calverley's description of the cross-column at Bewcastle:
The details are: west face near the top, remains of runes over an oblong square-headed panel, containing the figure of S. John Baptist bearing the nimbed Agnus Dei. Beneath this panel and over a much larger central, oblong, circular-headed panel, are two lines of runes, the upper line beginning with the sign of the cross and reading
Gessus (Jesus), the lower one reading Kristus (Christ). This central panel contains the glorified figure of the great Christ, robed as a priest, bearing in His left hand the sacred roll, His right hand uplifted to bless, treading upon the lion and adder, and His holy head leaning slightly to the right hand surrounded with the circling halo. Below this central figure comes the principal inscription in nine lines of runes. Beneath this, in a wide, circular-headed panel, standing a little sideways, and looking toward the spectator's right hand, is a man holding on his left wrist his hawk, which has flown up from its perch beneath . . . These three figures are the only human representations on the cross.
The details of the south face are: at the bottom an intertwined knot-ornament; above this a line of runes beginning with the sign of the cross; above this a very beautiful piece of double-scroll work, consisting of two grape-bearing vines with foliage and clusters, filling an oblong panel. Another line of runes appear above, and a smaller panel of knot-work above this, surmounted again by a panel filled with a single vine-scroll, bearing near the center an early sundial, whose principal time divisions are marked by a cross, and having rich fruit above. Another line of runes separates this panel from a third carving of knot-work, which with some more runes brings us to the top of the cross shaft.
The north face has also five panels. The central and largest panel, filled with chequers only, has above and below it and separated by a line of runes, a smaller panel, containing very elegant knot-work presenting elaborate specimens of the sacred sign of the Holy Trinity, the triquetra so constantly used in the early manuscripts. In the lowest compartment on this side are two conventional flower and fruit-bearing vine-scrolls of perfect design and exquisite workmanship, more nobly conceived than perhaps anything of the kind which is known in the land. The uppermost compartment contains a single such scroll. The two divisions—at the top and bottom of this side-containing these three Paradise Trees are separated from the knot-work divisions each by a line of runes. At the very top, preceded by three crosses, is another line of runesGessus (Jesus). . . . It will thus be seen that the chief face of the stone bears three sculptured figures, the central one being the Christ; that each of the two parallel sides show three divisions of interlaced work or geometrical design, and three conventional flower and fruit-bearing vines; and that the knot-work displays in various ways the sign of the Trinity.
The east face of the cross is filled with one great vine-scroll rising bodily from below and bearing many fruits which are being eaten by beasts and birds. A hound or fox devours a cluster near