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(Canton of Morteaux-Couliboeuf, Calvados)

Standing cross of Grisy

    The cross, sited in the ancient district of Grisy, just outside Vendeuvre, lies at the intersection of two ancient Roman roads. It was moved several metres in the nineteenth century to allow for construction of the railroad. Listed since 1903, it is one of the few examples of Roman crosses in Normandy, alongside those of Feuguerolles-sur-Orne (14), Neaufles-Saint-Martin, and Bouteilles (76). These crosses, sited generally at crossroads, by roadsides or in cemeteries etc., are characterised by a large plinth with small salients.
The cross in Grisy, which is 2 metres 20 high, is carved from a limestone monolith. It was reinforced with iron clamps in the nineteenth century, after it was broken in two while being moved. The shaft comprises four adjoining columns, narrowing toward the top and resting on a cube shaped plinth. The space between the shafts, on the lower part, is ornamented on the front and back, with a braided strip, a decoration found elsewhere on Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian crosses. The columns are mounted on volute capitals. On top of the shaft, the cross itself is Greek in style, the arms are short, each one being decorated with four crosses. At the intersection of the arms is a circle, with jutting edges bevelled in a herringbone design, ornamented at its centre with a stylised six-point rosette. This type of circled cross is reminiscent of the Celtic cross. There is a protuberance on the upper angles, formed by the intersection of the arms, and another on the lower part, on top of the capitals of the shaft. The short sides of the cross feature a tracery of secant circles, a common motif common in the Roman era, in Normandy, seen in other works, such as the antefix cross at ‘Dames’ Abbey in Caen, which was moved to Normandy Museum.


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T. 4, p. 641 à 643
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Calvados, T. II., p. 70 à 72
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p. 36-37
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p. 31 à 33
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T. 1., p. 296
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p. 137