The Wirksworth Stone
The Wirksworth Stone was the lid of stone vault found buried in front of the alter of Wirksworth Church in 1820. The carvings faced down, probably  to hide avoid damage at the time of the Reformation.  The vault beneath contained a skeleton, yet to identified.   The images have a superficial resemblance to a comic strip, but are not intended to be read in series.  Possibly it's designer envisaged vertical pairs being used to illustrate the lives of Christ and the Virgin in  a period when few people could read or write..  It is difficult to assign a date to the Wirksworth Stone, but it is almost certainly from the Anglo Saxon period.  

Today it is set on view in a wall of the church interior, as is a crude but effective carving of a medieval lead miner.  Images direct from another time..

                1                                         2                                       3                                      4                       
                 5                                        6                                                 7                                    8
Christ washing the Disciples'  feet
Crucifixion : the lamb of god (a symbol banned by the Church in 692 AD)
Burial of the Virgin (described in the Apocryphal New Testament). A High Priest who tried to interfere is dragged underneath
The presentation of Christ in the Temple
The descent into Hell of the worst sinners: Cain Herod & Judas burn in a brazier.  Above, Christ releases all other souls in the form of a swaddled baby.
Christ ascending to heaven, surrounded by angels
The Virgin, (seated) is approached by the Angel of the Annunciation
The Virgin holds Christ as a baby ;  Christ holds a scroll with one hand and points to St. Peter with the other, indicating that the disciples should spread the Word through him.

Copyright @ 2003 Stephen N.Wood. All rights reserved.

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