Halton’s Cross

At St Wilfrid’s Church at Halton, in Lancashire’s Lune Valley, is an ancient stone cross. Probably from Saxon times, it has been partially restored on account of damage. The images are not easy to interpret but published authorities describe its artwork as depicting Sigurd (Norse) or Siegfried (Germanic). He’s a mythical forerunner of St George, slayer of the dragon. It’s surprising just how many cultures have a dragon-killer in their banks of stories and legends. They may refer to early man’s battles with fierce predators, or it may be a dim memory of the serpent-crusher prophecy, given to Eve, that one of her descendants would destroy the serpent and his works:

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15)

Deep down, we know that the evil in the universe does not really belong here. We long for the day when the dragon will be vanquished and Eden restored. It was the desire of the Saxon mason and it is shared by every civilisation before and after. 

7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. 

-Revelation 12