Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Coychurch Celtic Cross-Shaft in Church

A Scheduled Monument in Coychurch Lower (Llangrallo Isaf), Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr)

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Latitude: 51.5062 / 51°30'22"N

Longitude: -3.5294 / 3°31'45"W

OS Eastings: 293948

OS Northings: 179691

OS Grid: SS939796

Mapcode National: GBR HG.J8YB

Mapcode Global: VH5HK.RDZQ

Entry Name: Coychurch Celtic Cross-Shaft in Church

Scheduled Date: 9 January 1951

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 2259

Cadw Legacy ID: GM213

Schedule Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Category: Cross

Period: Early Medieval

County: Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr)

Community: Coychurch Lower (Llangrallo Isaf)

Built-Up Area: Bridgend

Traditional County: Glamorgan


The monument comprises two composite pillar-crosses dating to the early medieval period (410-1066 AD). They are located within and at the west end of St Crallo’s Church, Coychurch.

Item ‘A’ consists of a grey quartzose sandstone composite pillar-cross, comprising ringed cross-head and quadrangular neck, squared shaft – both decorated on all four sides in low relief, now weathered - and a plain pedestal base. The shaft is decorated with now weathered panels of diagonal fret-pattern and plaitwork, and the south face contains the inscription Eb(i)ssar. It measures 3.12m in height. The cross-head measures 0.7m in diameter, and the pedestal base measures 0.89m in length and width. It was reworked as a late medieval churchyard cross, and then shattered by the collapse of the crossing tower in 1877 before being repaired and relocated at the west end of the north aisle.

Item ‘B’ consists of a pale grey sandstone, four-sided shaft-section that once formed the lower part of a composite pillar-cross. It is located at the west end of the south aisle. Each face has much weathered decorated panels featuring plaitwork, diaper pattern, and interlace, framed by bulbous angle-mouldings. The upper part of the east face features the pecked inscription Ebissar. The upper surface features a socket which held the cross-head. The shaft measures 1.62m in height, 0.66m in width and 0.38m in depth. The socket on the top surface measures 0.19m in length and width, and 0.16m in depth.

Both pillar-crosses date to the tenth- or eleventh-century. They were formerly in the churchyard, before being moved into the church by the Ancient Monuments Branch of the Ministry of Works in the 1960s, and mortared to the floor.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of early medieval society and religion. It is an important relic of early medieval religious practices and retains important evidence of early medieval art, sculpture and writing. The importance of the monument is further enhanced by its group value with other composite pillar crosses, including sharing the name Ebissar with the Samson Cross at St Illtyd’s Church, Llantwit Major, suggesting a common patron.

Item ‘A’ is centred on OS NGR 293947 179695, is circular in shape on plan and measures 2m in diameter. Item ‘B’ is centred on OS NGR 293948 179686, is circular in shape on plan and measures 2m in diameter.

Source: Cadw

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