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Treasure Hunt - The Lantern Cross

Over the centuries this beautiful lantern cross-head has been on display in several places around the castle. For most of the time it has been on display outdoors, both on the balustrade of the church steps and also fixed to the north-facing church wall.

It is possible however that it was originally commissioned for the Lady Chapel (now the Blue Drawing Room). There is also some evidence that suggests that the cross-head may have at one time been fixed on top of the granite post that stands outside the main entrance of the castle.

The main part of the Lantern Cross is carved out of Cornish granite from close to Padstow and was crafted in the 15th century. The four ornate pinnacles were added later in 1827.

A lantern cross is so-called because it resembles an old fashioned square-shaped lantern with four faces. However, instead of each face showing a gleaming light, the faces are carved with four distinct sculpted figures, which are:

  • The Virgin and Child
  • A priest or monk (possibly Abbot Bernard le Bec – the Abbot of the monastery at Mont St Michel who founded the priory here on St Michael’s Mount)
  • The Crucifixion
  • A king (possibly Edward the Confessor)

This is a remarkable object that deserved preservation from further deterioration by the elements. Therefore, it was brought indoors a few years ago and mounted on a modern piece of granite and is now much more easily accessible for viewing by visitors to the castle. 

The question is, where in the castle can the Lantern Cross now be found? Why not pay us a visit and find it for yourself?

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