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Lead, about 1 3/8” height, including the integral loop which originally attached it to the deceased. Hastily made for burial with plague victims of the first great plague of 1348-49. The cross beam centered and the beam terminals divided. The front with hand scribed line cross with triple terminals to the beams, the Jerusalem cross identified with the Crusades, and possibly indicating the deceases had been a Crusader. Known variously as Pestilence, the Great Mortality, the Great Plague or the Black Death, it was bubonic plague which was brought by sea from France. It killed a quarter of the population of London in two years, creating a shortage burial space and manpower to perform the burials. Over the centuries, many English churchyards have been cleared of old burials to make space for new (the closer to the church entrance the burial, the greater the chance for eternal happiness) and these crosses are occasionally encountered. See the attached images from the Science Museum, London and four related examples of 1348, from Grey Friars Monastery, Newgate Street, London (Wellcome Library, London).
Stock Number: B2199

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