Welsh sculptured crosses and cross-slabs of the pre-Norman period
This thesis analyses and defines the forms and ornament of the Welsh sculptured crosses and cross-slabs of the pre-Norman period and attempts to use the data thus assembled as historical evidence for the period in which they were made. The sculptural evidence confirms the historical evidence that there was very little artistic, exchange between Wales and England and virtually no direct contact between Wales and the continent c. 750-1100, but testifies to the existence of contacts between Wales and Ireland, Scotland (particularly Strathclyde) and the Isle of Man. Sixteen Welsh monuments are found to exhibit evidence of Scandinavian influence and these help to corroborate the literary place-name evidence for Scandinavian settlement on the coasts of Dyfed, South Glamorgan and Gwynedd in the pre-Norman period; the latter apparently associated with the trade route between the Scandinavian settlements of Dublin, the Isle of Man and Chester. The material reflects the existence of a settled society and economy in Wales in the early Medieval period in which craftsmen, some of whom were itinerant, others apparently associated with religious establishments, were patronised by kings and affluent laymen and churchmen whose wealth was in land. The distribution of the monuments demonstrates areas of contemporary settlement and the lines of communication between them and certain groups of monuments imply the existence of otherwise undocumented religious establishments. Although generally associated with religious sites, groups of monuments were not confined to the monastic aggregations but they were confined to the bounds of the known historic kingdoms. The Welsh sculptured crosses and cross-slabs were intimately associated with both the royal/aristocratic and ecclesiastical elements in society. Their production ceased when patronage was not continued by the new Norman landowners and churchmen.