FRAGMENTS from a tenth-century Anglo-Saxon stone cross have been discovered in the garden of a rectory in Lincolnshire.
One stone was discovered during maintenance work at the rectory of St James’s, Louth; the second was found by the verger, Christopher Marshall.
Historians said that the stones were proof that Louth was an important centre for Christianity in medieval times.
Mr Marshall believes that the stones are the earliest Christian artefacts to be found in the town. It is thought that the cross would have been on a three-to-four-metre plinth.
“The cross was erected at a very important time in the development of Louth and the Early Church. So far, it is the only tangible evidence that has been found from that period,” Mr Marshall said.
Built in the 15th century, St James’s, on Eastgate, has a 90-metre-high spire. The discovery of the cross provides a link between the present church, an eighth- and ninth-century Anglo-Saxon monastery, and the town’s tenth-century shrine to the Anglo-Saxon Bishop of Lindsey St Herefrith.
The Rector, the Revd Nick Brown, said: “It is truly inspiring to find an object that may have been a focus for devotion and prayer many centuries ago here in Louth.”
Conservation work will begin on the stones in summer. They will be displayed in the church later this year.