Here at the Gloucestershire Cross-Slabs Survey we're looking for volunteers to help with our survey of medieval cross-slabs across the county.
Medieval cross-slabs are a class of commemorative monument with a carved cross design, often with a shaft with a stepped base or calvary. The cross design may be simple or very complex in form, and there are sometimes additional inscriptions or motifs beside the cross. In England cross-slabs are found dating from the Anglo-Saxon period onwards, with fewer examples after the 14th century when monumental brasses and sculpted effigies become increasingly prevalent.
Cross-slabs often appear to have been set in the church floor as grave covers, but many have been disturbed over the years and have been rebuilt into tower bases, stairs or windows, porches or reset in floors after Victorian renovation. Others are lying loose in or around their church. Cross-slabs are very vulnerable to wear and tear and other damage, especially if they are loose. They are a relatively neglected type of monuments that are found across the country, with numerous fine examples in Gloucestershire.
The Gloucestershire Cross-slab Recording Project proposes to record all known cross-slabs in Gloucestershire, starting with the area covered in Buildings of England: The Cotswolds, before moving on to the area covered in The Vale and Forest of Dean. Churches, monastic sites and museums will all be checked, and any cross-slabs will be fully recorded, including accurate scale drawings and photographs.
Initial work will include the collation of existing records of cross-slabs, and the compilation of a GIS-linked database containing details of past observations and known slabs. The project will then move on to a phase of recording and the creation of an illustrated gazetteer of Gloucestershire cross-slabs. The database will be modelled on the surveys of Peter Ryder in the north-east of England to allow comparison https://sites.google.com/site/crossslabs/about-the-project
We would like to hear from anyone with an interest in, or any information on, medieval cross-slabs in the county, or who would like to get involved in the project. You may know of cross-slabs in your local church, or would like to help search for and record slabs in our visits to churches. If you would like to help with the recording then all training will be provided and although not every church will have a cross-slab, every church is worth a visit!
Please contact the project via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Recording work is planned to start in November 2015.