Volume II | Chapter 13 | Late Developments Back to catalogue index
by R.J.Cramp

After the distinctive Cumbrian developments of the Viking-age schools discussed above, the later pre-Conquest period does not produce any distinguished innovative pieces. The late fashion for larger grave-slabs with carved or incised crosses centrally placed is common to the rest of Northumbria. The Bewcastle pieces (nos. 4 and 6) are closely related to those east of the Pennines. More enigmatic are the slabs from Cross Canonby (nos. 3–4). These share with a late cross-shaft from Burton in Kendal (no. 3) a taste for straight line ornament which forms chevrons. Such ornament may span the period of the Norman Conquest.

The ring-headed cross remains a popular form into the post-Conquest period where it survives at centres such as Arthuret in a plain form (Calverley 1899a, 9). Cross-heads with the rings completely filled ('plate-heads', G.I., fig. 5) also occur at Kirkby Stephen (no. 9) and Cumwhitton.

Perhaps the most interesting new development is the lush floral patterns which occur on such heads as Cumwhitton and Whitehaven 1. These parallel the rich decoration of fully Romanesque carvings such as the Bridekirk font (Calverley 1899a, pl. facing 169), a magnificent piece which, like the St Bees tympanum, testifies to the strength of the Scandinavian decorative tradition in the north, even when combined with twelfth-century iconography.

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