Acca’s Cross

THE CROSS WHICH STOOD AT THE HEAD OF THE GRAVE OF ACCA BISHOP OF HEXHAM AD 709-732 WHO DIED AD 740

…So says the modern inscription on the plinth in the south transept of Hexham Abbey. On it is all that remains of a tall, intricately carved cross. It is worn and weathered, its inscription no longer readable. It lacks nearly a metre of the shaft and three parts of the cross-head, but what remains is a significant remnant from the 8th century that has played a leading part in the Abbey story.

Acca became the best loved of Hexham saints. During St Wilfrid’s later years, he was the older man’s loyal companion, eventually succeeding him as abbot and bishop. He had little of Wilfrid’s abrasive energy and tireless ambition. Acca’s godly work was mostly limited to Northumbria, but in that narrower setting he worked many wonders.

Acca journeyed with the ageing Wilfrid on his last visit to Rome. Later he told his friend Bede of their stay at Utrecht with the saintly Archbishop Willibrord, Wilfrid’s old pupil who was carrying on his work of converting continental heathens. For his part, Acca devoted himself to building the faith in Northumbria, bringing to completion Wilfrid’s great centre of Christian worship and learning at Hexham.

Bede left a glowing account of the work Acca did during the quarter of a century when he led the community at Hexham. He adorned the church with paintings, sculpture and rich hangings; he gathered sacred relics and built side-chapels to house them; he created a library of godly books; he brought from Kent a skilled teacher of Gregorian chant named Maban, to ensure that the music and liturgy of the church were as fine as any in Europe. Acca was both a first-class musician and a learned theologian.

6 Comments CherryPie on Nov 23rd 2015

6 Responses to “Acca’s Cross”

  1. ....peter:) says:

    i’m glad that i got a chance to comment on the wonderful way that you framed this window and the monolith at the side Cherie….peter:)

  2. lisl says:

    I wonder how many centuries this stood outside in the graveyard, Cherie

  3. It looks like an Egytian obelisk?!

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