Dating to the late 15th century, this cross is from Cockersand Abbey. It was hidden when the monasteries were dissolved in 1536. Its location was kept secret for generations, until the 19th century, when it was handed to Thurnham Church.
Cockersand Abbey was the home to an order of contemplative canons, which are called Premonstratensians. Established by 1192, the most visible remains are those of the 13th century Chapter House, re-used as a family mausoleum by the Dalton family of Thurnham Hall, from the mid-18th to mid-19th centuries.
A processional cross is a crucifix carried at the head of a procession usually on a staff so that it can be clearly seen. It was usual for abbeys and similar bodies to possess these crosses as a symbol of their authority under the pope to gather the masses for worship.
The medallions are of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John, and the side arms are figures of Mary the Virgin and Mary Magdalene which are separate pieces that fit into sockets. The side arms of the cross were originally finished in blue enamel.
This cross is on loan from the Church of St. Thomas and St. Elizabeth, Thurnham who still use it for a procession once a year.