Post-medieval cross slabs: closet Catholics or stubborn traditionalists?

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In England, crosses on commemorative carvings are unusual in the two centuries after the Reformation. In south-east Wales, however, there are numerous examples, in a range of styles, suggesting the work of several groups of stonemasons. A number have the IHS trigram, in the square capitals format popularised by Ignatius Loyola as the emblem of the Jesuits. Some of these memorials commemorate known recusants, but most seem to exemplify the characteristic Welsh combination of traditionalism and loyalism. There is plenty of other evidence for Welsh communities in the early modern period continuing with traditional ‘Catholic’ practices (pilgrimage, veneration of relics and wells) while still regarding themselves as members of the established church.
Some similar stones are found over the border into Herefordshire but there are very few in north and west Wales, suggesting that this was a purely local fashion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-240
Number of pages34
JournalThe Antiquaries Journal
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2016


  • recusancy
  • commemoration
  • tombs


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