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Langley Cross

Consecrated in 1964, All Saints and Martyrs is home to the Langley Cross. This unique structure, which adorns our east wall, is the work of internationally renowned artist, Geoffrey Clarke RA, who has won reputation by his contributions to Coventry Cathedral. It is an attempt to interpret the ministry of salvation, won by the Passion and resurrection of our Lord, in the expression of our day.
We are often accustomed to the rich and fine crosses of traditional churches (very often things of great beauty) that we often overlook the cross as an instrument of torture and execution. Clarke’s cross portrays the brutality of the ancient Roman practice of crucifixion yet at the same time seems to interpret this in a more modern context, as the shape of a rifle can clearly be seen within the design in the top section of the transverse shafts – symbolic of one of the modern instruments of execution. The harshness and the brutality seen in the rugged structure of the Langley Cross, which is made in rough cast aluminium, serves to remind us of the harshness and brutality of the Cross on Golgotha.

The sculpture itself is 37 feet high and about 20 feet wide at the extremities of the transverse shaft and made of cast aluminium metal.

The cross is interpreted as a road, railway and also a ladder, which may climbed by the five steps (representing perhaps the same idea as the five jewels of traditional crosses – the five wounds of our Lord); and a narrow path leads on upwards beyond the centre on the Cross itself. Some people see in the central void a picture of the empty tomb, which, with the simple white cross inside it, symbolizes the two keystones of our faith – the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Others see “the stone rolled away” as the consecrated bread being placed into an outstretched palm, representing our Lord’s offering of himself for us on the cross and to us in the Holy Sacrament – “This is my Body which is given for you…”

Other people have claimed to see the face of Jesus on the bottom pillar complete with beard and crown of thorns.

Next time you visit pause for a minute and you too could explore the mystery of the Langley Cross.