St Augustine’s Cross

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St Augustine’s Cross © David Gill

St Augustine traditionally landed in Kent in 597. In 1884 the Second Earl of Granville, George Granville Leveson-Gower (1815-91) [ODNB], the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports (1865-91), erected a Saxon style cross near the supposed spot where Augustine landed. Granville’s official residence was at Walmer Castle.

Granville’s wife was a Roman Catholic, and his sister, Lady Georgiana Charlotte Fullerton (1812-85) , had converted in 1846. The Times (13 October 1884) had reported Lady Georgiana’s letter announcing the creation of the cross at Granville’s “own expense, on his own land”, and that it was “an act of homage to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to the Apostolate of St Augustine, rendered by one of their Protestant fellow-countrymen, which is doubtless a cause of rejoicing to all English Catholics”.

The cross was carved by J. Roddis of Birmingham and was based on the Sandbach Crosses in Cheshire.

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St Augustine’s Cross, Latin text on the base of the cross © David Gill
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St Augustine’s Cross, Latin Text © David Gill

The accompanying Latin text, cut on the base of the cross (and with a plaque), was composed by Dr Henry George Liddell (1811-98), Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, and compiler of the Greek Lexicon (Liddell-Scott). One of Liddell’s daughters, Alice, was celebrated by Lewis Carroll. Liddell had been Granville’s tutor at Christ Church in 1836 (see The Graphic 15 November 1884).

 

Author: David Gill

David Gill is Honorary Professor in the Centre for Heritage at the University of Kent, and an Academic Associate in SISJAC at UEA; Professor of Archaeological Heritage.

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