Downpatrick’s Town Cross

Downpatrick’s Town Cross: Geology, History, Preservation, Design, Iconography, Purpose and Patronage

Michael King

2023, Ulster Journal of Archaeology

The Replica Cross outside Down Cathedral

Various aspects of Downpatrick’s Town Cross are discussed, based on research carried out during the project to move the cross from outside the east end of Down Cathedral to a new purpose-built extension at Down County Museum, and the creation of an authentic replica to replace it (2013–2015).

There are links between Bangor and Downpatrick, through the Bangor monk St Diarmait, a member of the Dal Fiatach dynasty who ruled much of Co. Down from Downpatrick, and became the founder of the monastery of Castledermot in the early 9th century. He had contacts with St Gall, another daughter house of Bangor.

Mike King led the project to move the high cross, dating to about 900 AD, into a purpose-built new extension at Down County Museum in 2013-15, and to replace it with an authentic replica outside the east end of Down Cathedral. The article covers the geology of the cross, its early history, attempts to preserve it, the design of the cross using compasses, its iconography, and the functions and possible patrons of the cross.

The Cross sits in a purpose built gallery surrounded by interpretation material and other contemporary artefacts

To read the research paper which has been published in the Ulster Journal of Archaeology, please click on the link below: