Monday, October 1, 2012

The Anglo-Saxon Stone

The Anglo-Saxon Stone is located in the Bristol Cathedral, being the oldest artefact within the Cathedral. It was rediscovered in 1831 under the floor of the chapter house. It is Anglo-Saxon work. It is designed to instruct in an age when most people learned by a picture. It may have been one of a series of stone-carved pictures illustrating sacred subjects, probably outside the church. The story of the harrowing of hell was a popular end to the account of the gospel, as may been seen from its place in the mystery plays. 


Christ, a triumphant figure with a halo, is raiding (or harrowing) the underworld of hell. He is trampling on the devil and the serpent. From their grasp the Saviour is drawing a figure, which is probably Eve, the mother of the whole race. She clutches the cross, which is held by the strong hand of the Saviour. Christ holds her hands so that they may not slip and she is safely lifted by the Cross, from darkness to light. 

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