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Author Topic: OTD 18th February: The Ixworth Cross  (Read 25 times)


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OTD 18th February: The Ixworth Cross
« on: February 20, 2021, 09:31:31 AM »
Continuing my series of posts from the Companions' Facebook page, here is the most popular post from the past week commemorating the discovery of the wonderful Ixworth Cross.

Today we take the opportunity to recall that the glorious Ixworth Cross was found on 18th February 1856; the finder took it to Joseph Warren, a watch and clockmaker of Ixworth who also dealt in coins and antiquities.
Later Warren recorded that:

"1856 February 18th. This day was brought me a Gold Cross set with small garnets, also the front of a circular gold fibula, covered with filigree work......they were found by a man raising gravel at Stanton."

There was also a disc brooch and a number of iron fittings, possibly from a coffin. Although Warren recorded the find as being at Stanton, the collection was attributed to Warren “from Ixworth” and so the cross was named.

An article in “Collecteana Antiqua” described the finds as coming from a grave. The iron fittings were suggested by Warren as coming from a coffin, especially as “mouldering remains of wood” were also detected. The article also speculated on the age of the objects and compared them to finds from Kent and in particular to the object now known as the Wilton Cross.

The cross probably dates from the 7th century and is decorated in the iconic gold and cloisonné work like items from Sutton Hoo and the Staffordshire Hoard. It also resembles other finds such as the Trumpington Cross and the Wilton Cross.

The cross measures 4.55 cm wide by 3.88 cm thick and with arms 0.28 cm. The central roundel is divided into concentric rings, comprised of rectangular and T-shaped cloisonné work cells. The flared arms of the cross comprise a central panel divided into four sections, bordered by rectangular cells containing garnets. The upper arm is modified to attach the suspension loop. The back of the cross is made of a single sheet of gold, with a small repair patch on the border between the upper arm and central roundel. However, overall the style is more geometric than its comparison pieces.

More recent research has led to the proposal that this and similar crosses were from bed burials of Anglo-Saxon noble women, and that the cross was sewn to the neck of her garment. Bed burials were only given to high-status women. The Trumpington Cross is a more recent find which is strikingly similar to the Ixworth example.

You can see it in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Enjoy the utter gorgeousness.