The cross is to be erected in hail of Monkwearmouth, on Roker Point, where it will be seen by the vast holiday population of Wear and Tyne. It was felt that, whatever were the natural claims of Jarrow and Durham, the church at one place and the tomb at the other were lasting monuments of the great Northumbrian we wish to honour, and that it was unwise either at Jarrow or Monkwearmouth to entrust such fine sculpture as is intended to the grime or the fume of the open air. To place the cross under cover within a building at either place was impossible. The committee, therefore, determined to erect it, by leave of the town council of Sunderland, in clear and clean air, on a headland which must have been familiar to Bede, and which is actually “in territorio monasterii,” given by Egfrid the King to Benedict Biscop, for the founding of the sister monasteries of Monkwearmouth and Jarrow.
The cross, 25ft. high, will be Anglian in form, as being germane to the district and contemporary with Bede’s time. The shaft of the cross on the west side will be ornamented with scroll patterns from the Lindisfarne Gospel and from the stones at Jarrow, and will contain, with a twisted loop of the duck-billed serpent seen on the Monkwearmouth doorway, pictorial subjects from the life of Bede. On the east side will be roman lettering, giving two extracts from Bede’s work—one from the Ecclesiastical History, one from his Life of St. Cuthbert—both extracts speaking of the accuracy and care with which he worked. On the south side, within a vine scroll, will be carved in alto and bas relief the heads and busts of the friends and associates of Bede. On the north side a scroll introducing birds and animals, spring from a harp, emblematic of his poetic gifts, will show Bede’s love of nature.
Beneath these four sculptured sides will run in a band the little verse written by Bede on his death-bed, beginning, “Fore there nedfarae,” in Latin, in rune, in minuscule, and in English. And on the block out of which the cross rises will be carved a short inscription to the glory of God and in memory of His servant Bede.
(Times, 21 April 1903, p. 5; Carlisle Journal, 28 April 1903, p. 5)