New Publication: ‘The Rood in Medieval Britain & Ireland, c.800-c.1500’, Edited by Philippa Turner & Jane Hawkes

New readings demonstrate the centrality of the rood to the visual, material and devotional cultures of the Middle Ages, its richness and complexity.

The rood was central to medieval Christianity and its visual culture: Christ’s death on the cross was understood as the means by which humankind was able to gain salvation, and depictions of the cross, and Christ’s death upon it, were ubiquitous.

This volume brings together contributions offering a new perspective on the medieval rood – understood in its widest sense, as any kind of cross – within the context of Britain and Ireland, over a wide period of time which saw significant political and cultural change. In doing so, it crosses geographical, chronological, material, and functional boundaries which have traditionally characterised many previous discussions of the medieval rood. Acknowledging and exploring the capacity of the rood to be both universal and specific to particular locations and audiences, these contributions also tease out the ways in which roods related to one another, as well as how they related to their physical and cultural surroundings, often functioning in dialogue with other images and the wider devotional topography – both material and mental – in which they were set.

The chapters consider roods in a variety of media and contexts: the monumental stone crosses of early medieval England, twelfth-century Ireland, and, spreading further afield, late medieval Galicia; the three-dimensional monumental wooden roods in English monasteries, Irish friaries, and East Anglian parish churches; roods that fit in the palm of a hand, encased in precious metals, those that were painted on walls, drawn on the pages of manuscripts, and those that appeared in visions, dreams, and gesture.


PHILIPPA TURNER gained her PhD in History of Art at the University of York; JANE HAWKES is Professor of Art History at the University of York.

Contributors: Sarah Cassell, Sara Carreño, Jane Hawkes, Malgorzata Krasnodebska-D’Aughton, John Munns, Kate Thomas, Philippa Turner, Maggie Williams, Lucy J. Wrapson.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction: Rethinking the Rood – Philippa Turner
  • Approaching the Cross: The Sculpted High Crosses of Anglo-Saxon England – Jane Hawkes
  • The Mark of Christ in Wood, Grass and Field: Open-Air Roods in Old English Medical Remedies – Kate Thomas
  • Twelfth-Century English Rood Visions: Some Iconographic Notes – John Munns
  • Crosses, Croziers, and the Crucifixion: Twelfth-Century Crosses in Ireland – Maggie Williams
  • From Religious Artefacts to Symbols of Identity: The Role of Stone Crosses in Galician National Discourse – Sara Carreño
  • The Rood in the Late Medieval English Cathedral: The Black Rood of Scotland Reassessed – Philippa Turner
  • The Cross of Death and the Tree of Life: Franciscan Ideologies in Late Medieval Ireland – Malgorzata Krasnodebska-D’Aughton
  • Heralding the Rood: Colour Convention and Material Hierarchies on Late Medieval English – Lucy Wrapson
  • Reframing the Rood: Fifteenth-Century Angel Roofs and the Rood in East Anglia – Sarah Cassell

Order your copy here.

  • November 2020
  • 14 colour, 48 black and white illustrations
  • 247 pages
  • 24×17 cm

Published by Roisin Astell

Roisin Astell received a First Class Honours in History of Art at the University of York (2014), under the supervision of Dr Emanuele Lugli. After spending a year learning French in Paris, Roisin then completed an MSt. in Medieval Studies at the University of Oxford (2016), where she was supervised by Professor Gervase Rosser and Professor Martin Kauffmann. In 2017, Roisin was awarded a CHASE AHRC studentship as a doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, under the supervision of Dr Emily Guerry.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: