Acca's Cross

Acca's Cross is a moving memorial to one of the most important people in Hexham Abbey's early history. Now standing in the south transept, near the main entrance, it is thought that the cross once marked the final resting place of one of Hexham's best-loved saints.

Acca was Bishop of Hexham between 709 and 732. He had been Wilfrid's loyal companion, and succeeded him as Abbot and Bishop. He devoted his time to building the faith in Northumbria, continuing Wilfrid's work to create a great centre of Christian worship and learning in Hexham.

The vibrant musical life of the Abbey today can trace its roots back to Acca: he was an accomplished musician as well as an outstanding theologian, and he was determined that music and liturgy in Hexham should be as fine as anywhere in Europe.

The Cross that we see today is not complete, and what remains has been re-assembled from several fragments. The two top pieces of the Cross were rescued from the foundations of a warehouse near the site of St Mary's Church in the Market Place, adjacent to the Abbey; and the lower section spent some time serving as the lintel over a farmhouse door in nearby Dilston!

Centuries of exposure have eroded the carved decoration of the cross, and the colour that originally enriched it has long since disappeared. But it is still possible to appreciate the dedication of the craftsmen who created it, and who employed their new-found skills to adorn it with the vine scroll, leaves and fruit that we can still see today.