The Weeping Cross

The medieval cross base, known as the ‘Weeping Cross’, would appear to be a unique survivor of many such crosses in England. The place name ‘Weeping Cross’ still exists in Stafford, Banbury and Shrewsbury but no physical evidence remains. The age of this ancient and venerable relic is not known. It is certainly as old as the church, and perhaps much older if it was brought from  the ’sinking chapel’ site. There is no cross now, but the socket where it fitted is clearly seen in the top of the upper stone. Iconoclasts may have removed the original cross (possibly a crucifix) at the time of the Reformation.

The manner of which the ‘Weeping Cross’ was used has been a subject of considerable debate among antiquarians. The Shrewsbury cross is known to have been the focus of a procession of the Blessed Sacrament by the monastic and secular clergy on the Festival of Corpus Christi, before the celebrations of the Holy Eucharist took place at one of the neighbouring churches. After the Reformation, the festival became secular and later an annual fair. The Ripley cross being located close to a church may have had a similar role in pre-Reformation times. The eight recesses, most likely for the head of kneeling devotees, would tend to support the idea of such group usage.

The term ‘weeping cross’ also seems to  indicate the expression of grief, remorse or repentance. This may relate to the death of Christ and the Festival of Corpus Christi. However the public expression of such emotions in atonement for sins or crimes was not uncommon in medieval times and may be an alternative explanation. *

The Weeping Cross

Since the leaflet was written a simply wooden cross has been placed has been placed on top of the stone.

*Information from a church leaflet – A Short History of  All Saints’ Church Ripley

4 Comments CherryPie on Nov 2nd 2020

4 Responses to “The Weeping Cross – All Saint’s, Ripley”

  1. lisl says:

    This is really interesting, Cherie. I have never heard of Weeping Crosses. At least the base was too substantial to be vandalised at the Reformation

  2. Ayush Basu says:

    i found the knee holes interesting and would not have realized that without the text, CP.

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