Canterbury cross (cathedral)

The Canterbury Cross is a symbol of the Christian faith and the Anglican church. The design of the cross is based upon a Saxon (c. 850 AD) brooch found in 1867 in St George’s Street, Canterbury. (As of June 2022 the original brooch is on display in the crypt of the Cathedral.)  In 1935 ninety-three stone crosses were financed and all but one sent as gifts by the Dean and Chapter to Anglican cathedrals “throughout the Empire”.  Packed in small wooden cases the stone crosses were sent to 90 cathedrals within the Empire and two to cathedrals in the United States of America.  The stones were dedicated by Archbishop Cosmo Lang at the Empire Service on 15 June 1935. The wall stone weighs 5.2kg and measures 25.4 x 35.5 cm.

The cross and the plaque are cast from bronze and mounted upon a block of Caen Stone taken from the cathedral. The cross and the stone from the Mother Church were to promote unity within the Anglican community. Below the cross in the cathedral nave is a register detailing cathedrals in receipt of a Wall Stone

This is a copy of the Canterbury cross, emblem of Salvation and Friendship, mounted on a piece of masonry taken from an external wall of the cathedral.  It is believed to date from early Christian Saxon times, becoming an emblem on badges purchased and worn by pilgrims from around 1200 to 1400.  An example of the cross was found in 1867 under St George’s Street.  It also appears in a badge found under Eastbridge Hospital.  The badge seems to be unique to Canterbury.

What to see (Image 1):

  • the cross situated on the north wall of the nave near the south west porch entrance
  • nearby the list of 93 cathedrals to which copies of the cross have been sent from the Mother church

Sources:  see standard sources particularly Bell (2009)


Canterbury cross