OLD PLYMOUTH . UK
www.oldplymouth.uk
 

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: July 29, 2017.
Webpage updated: July 29, 2017

        

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SAINT ANDREW'S CROSS

In 1884 the graveyard adjoining Saint Andrew's Church was levelled and the remains transferred to the Westwell Street burial ground.  The seventy-foot high Saint Andrew's Cross was erected as a corporate memorial and was dedicated on May 30th 1895.  It was designed by Mr James Hine of Messrs Hine and Odgers, of Lockyer Street, Plymouth, erected by Mr John Finch, of York Road, Plymouth, and the carvings were carried out by Messrs Harry Hems & Sons, sculptors, of Exeter. 

The fabric was generally of carefully chosen Portland stone but alternate layers were of a red sandstone from quarries at Mitcheldean, Gloucestershire.  The Cross was divided into three distinct tiers.  On each of the four faces of the lowest tier there was a moulded arch with double shafts and carved capitals.  These recesses contained slabs of polished granite, on two of which were inscriptions.  The one on the northern face read: ~ To the glory of God, and in memory of Parishioners during many centuries buried near this cross.  I am the resurrection and the life. ~   and on the southern side was: ~ Erected Anno Domini 1894, Ven. Archdeacon Wilkinson, vicar; John P Paige, T G Greek Wills, Churchwardens. ~  The central stage had niches for statuary, that of Hope on the south side, with an anchor by its side; Peace, wearing a crown, on the north side; Faith, with a cross, to the east, and Charity, with an orphaned child, on the west side.  At the angles were graceful pinnacles carved with crisp and effective crockets.  On top of the spire, the third stage, was a cross in wrought copper.

Railings erected by Messrs Hardman & Powell, of Birmingham, enclosed the site and on one of the gateways was inscribed: ~ Opened May 30th 1895.  Law, Mayor; E Roseveare, Chairman, Hoe and Parks Committee. ~

St Andrew's Cross and gardens with St Andrew's Church in the background

Saint Andrew's Cross and Gardens with
Saint Andrew's Church, the Guildhall and the Municipal Offices.

It remained as a landmark until the Plymouth Blitz of March 20th/21st 1941 when it was badly damaged by a bomb that exploded nearby and Messrs Spooner & Company's store, directly opposite, caught fire.  In fact, it was later stated that the Cross was moved nine inches from its base by the force of the blast. 

The Cross was demolished during November 1941 and the statues removed to the Guildhall.  The 'Lady with Child' now stands at the north-west corner and 'Peace with Dove' is now in the former northern doorway.  The bronze cross that formerly stood at the top of the 70 feet high memorial is now on the main alter of Saint Andrew's Church.  In July 1949 the City Engineer requested instructions from the Council on re-erecting the Cross but it was decided not to rebuild it but to make a War Damage claim instead.

Motor Bus Services provided by the National Omnibus & Transport Company and later Western National Omnibus Company terminated at the roadside by the side of the Cross, as can be seen in the photograph above.