We were approached by the shop at Westminster Abbey to create a piece of beautiful bespoke jewellery for them – this stunning sterling silver cross.
Known as “St Edward’s Cross”, this “cross patonce” makes a stunning and distinctive pendant. The ends of the cross’s four limbs are trifurcated, giving a leaf-like appearance. The term “patonce” possibly comes from the French “patte”, meaning paw, and you can definitely see the paw shape in the limbs.
From our point of view, this elegant shape made it a beautiful cross to turn into a piece of jewellery. Westminster Abbey shop sent us this image to work with, from the western tower entrance to the Abbey.
We then worked on a series of sketches to translate this architectural detail into a pendant design. Here’s one of our drawings…
Why did Westminster Abbey ask us to work with this particular cross? St Edward’s Cross has great significance for the Abbey. St Edward the Confessor was the Anglo Saxon king who founded Westminster Abbey. A “confessor” rather than a “martyr” (he showed great courage for his faith but didn’t die for it), he is the only British monarch to have been canonised. Although his original Abbey was demolished in 1245, his body was moved to the present Westminster Abbey in 1269 where his shrine attracted many pilgrims. The royal saint has always been particularly appealing to monarchs, hence the Abbey being chosen for coronations and royal burials.
The Saxon kings didn’t have coats of arms, so later heralds “attributed” a coat of arms to him, based on a coin that dated from his reign. His emblem, a gold cross patonce and five martlets (small birds) on a blue background, appears in Westminster Abbey’s own coat of arms, a tribute to its founder.
The St Edward’s Cross pendant, which we made exclusively for Westminster Abbey’s shop, is available in large or smaller sizes. We have also created matching St Edward’s Cross earrings, delicate little studs that look exquisite in this smaller scale. The necklace and earrings are also available in a choice of two matching sets.To find out more about our bespoke jewellery design service, please contact Mallards. We’d love to discuss your heritage jewellery project with you.