Volume IV: South-East England

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Current Display: Abingdon 01, Berkshire Forward button Back button

Overview
National Grid Reference of Place of Discovery
Present Location
Abingdon Museum (no accession number)
Evidence for Discovery
Discovered in 1927 by E. A. G. Lamborn in garden wall (c. 1840) of The Square House, Abingdon; donated to museum when house demolished in 1934
Church Dedication
No Dedication
Present Condition
Broken and chipped
Description

The lower edge of the fragment is horizontally dressed, and the left- and right-hand edges vertically dressed. The upper edge is formed by the arc of a circle.

A (broad): Along the upper edge is a broad, plain, raised border. To the left is a large interlace triquetra, broad end uppermost, the strands are median-incised, and the tip of the lower element is lost. To its left a half-round moulding rises from the lower edge sloping to the left, and a similar moulding slopes upwards to the right before bending sharply downwards to run parallel to the border a short distance from it.

C (broad): In the lower right-hand corner is a prominent reversed L-shaped moulding of square section. Above and to the left of its lower element is a narrow rectangular slot.

Discussion
The decoration can be reconstructed as a cross with a triquetra in each of the re-entrant angles (Fig. 36). The piece is normally interpreted as part of a disc-shaped cross-head, but this is unlikely as there is no trace of decoration on face C. Instead there is elaborate keying as if the roundel had formed part of a larger composite feature or structure. It is unlikely that the keying is secondary as it would have involved the skilful cutting back and re-shaping of the entire face removing all trace of any pre-existing decoration. In addition the piece is very large for a disc head, with a reconstructed diameter of over 100 cm.If it is not a cross-head, then the piece may have served an architectural function, perhaps as a decorative roundel. Two similar, but smaller, roundels survive at Edenham, Lincolnshire, where they form part of the string-course in the south wall of the nave. They are ornamented with foliage not interlace, but, as at Abingdon the decoration is arranged in a cruciform shape (Taylor and Taylor 1965–78, i, 227, ii, pl. 459; Taylor and Taylor 1966, 35).
Date
Tenth to eleventh century
References
Lamborn 1935, 58 - 9, figs. 1 - 4; Lamborn 1937, 122; Tweddle 1986b, i, 86, 186 - 7, ii, 346 - 7, iii, pl. 16;
D.T.

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