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Where to Find Celtic Crosses
By Yingtian Yang

In many parts of the United Kingdom, you will see free standing crosses in churchyards and in places where one would not expect to find a scared symbol. These Celtic Crosses are a symbol that combines the Latin cross of long stem and two arms with a circle on the inside of the stem joining the stem and the arms. The crosses are all made of stone and have very elaborate carvings. Many of these crosses that exist today date back to as early as the 7th centuries when Irish missionaries began erecting them in Ireland. In time, as Christianity spread, the crosses also spread so that today you will find them in England, Scotland and Wales although they are most prevalent in Ireland.

Kildalton High Cross is the oldest surviving Celtic cross in Scotland. It is believed to date back to 800 A.D. and has elaborate carvings in its blue stone. The biblical scene on the front of the cross depicts the Virgin and Child, while there are carvings of other Bible scenes on the rest of the cross, such as David and the lion. There are also carvings of animals. The Kilchoman Cross stands in the churchyard of the village of Kilchoman and dates back to about 1400 A.D.

In Cornwall, crosses show the places where missionaries stopped and prayed.

* Halwyn Wayside Cross

* Cardingham Churchyard. This cross possibly dates back to the 10th century. It is an excellent example of a wheeled Celtic cross.

* Laneast. This cross dates back to the 10th century and has the circle on the outside of the arms.

* St. Kew's Cross. This stands in the churchyard of the St. Kew Church, but was discovered in 1924 as part of a footbridge.

* St. Pillack's wheel-headed cross. This cross has the carving of a strange figure on the back

A number of crosses and slabs of rock with crosses carved into them have been found on the Isle of Man. You can see Celtic crosses either free standing or carved on stone at the following places:

* Kirk Andreas

* Kirk Ballaugh

* Kirk Bradden

* Kirk Lezayre

* Kirk Lonan

* Kirk Maughold

* Kirk Michael

* Kirk Onchan

St. Brynach's Cross had Celtic knotwork on both the crown and the pillar. This variation of the cross evolved and was most common in the 8th to the 10th centuries. You can see this cross at Nevern Dyfed, Wales.

In Ireland, places where you can see the Celtic cross are:

* Monastery Clonmacnois in central Ireland

* Muiredach Cross in Monasterboice, County Louth

* Clonfert

* Faheen, County Kilkenny

* Killorglin, County Kerry

There have also been variations of these crosses. The Trinity cross also displays some of the intricate carvings of the Celtic cross. The first free standing cross were also called Croes Hir, which means Long Cross. They were craved as cross heads on a pillar and the arms were well supported by the circle. Muiredach's cross is one example of a cross carved with elaborate designs of Scriptural passages and Biblical scenes.


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