Rare discovery of ancient stone cross fragments reveal English town as 'centre for Christianity'
Ancient cross fragments found at a church in Louth, Lincolnshire, have shed light on the town's early Christian roots.
Two pieces from a 10th century Anglo-Saxon stone cross have been found in the garden of St James' Church rectory in Louth; one during maintenance work, and another by church verger Christopher Marshall.
According to the parish of Louth, historians have hailed the discovery as "proof that Louth was an important centre for Christianity in medieval times."
Experts identified the stones as part of a pre-Conquest standing cross, the parish said. "This cross would have symbolised the full re-establishment of Christianity in the region," it added in an update to its website.
The fragments are the oldest Christian artefacts to have been found in the town. Rev Nick Brown, rector of St James', called the discovery "truly inspiring".
"We have discovered a visible link with the early centuries of the Christian community of which we are a living part," he said, adding that the findings should remind Christians in the area of the believers who have gone before them.
Marshall said the cross was "erected at a very important time in the development of Louth and the early church. So far, it is the only tangible evidence that has been found from that period.
"It gives me tremendous pleasure to know that I was instrumental in finding it and I look forward to it being on display for future generations to see," he said.
The fragments will go on display at St James' later this year.