Friday, March 25

The Mystery Of The Celtic Cross With A Dollar Symbol

Celtic Cross with dollar sign
Ever since a small child I've always loved churches, their graveyards and looking at the old stones. I'm not sure why because I don't belong to any organised religion - perhaps I was something to do with a church in a previous life. Mind you I think I may also have had something to do with old fashioned windmills as well as I find them very scary.

St.Breock Church
St.Breock Church, Cornwall
Anyway, I'm still wandering around churches but leave the windmills alone. Yesterday my wife and I were heading for Padstow in Cornwall, about 20 miles from where I live. I felt compelled to make a stop at a well away from the beaten track church at St.Breock. It's a pretty isolated old church which was closed, so we wandered round looking at the old grave stones.

One in particular caught my eye as it was a Celtic Cross with what looked like a dollar sign in the middle - see photo at the top of this post. It's puzzled me ever since as I can't find out what the $ like symbol means. I've a feeling this is why I felt I had to visit this church.

Living in Cornwall I have seen lots of Celtic Crosses, especially in churches, as in the photo below at St.Winnow.

St. Winnow Church
St. Winnow church, Cornwall
There are many theories about the meaning of Celtic Crosses. These include that the circle is for eternity or maybe the everlasting love of God. Others will say that the circle is from the Druids and has been pinched by the Christians to add to their cross. One of the best articles on the subject is Celtic Cross History and Symbolism - but this has no explanation of the dollar sign. If anyone does have an explanation or idea I'd love to know the answer.

After we'd finished at St.Breock we went on to Padstow for lunch on the quay. It was a glorious day for March. Two photos follow:

Padstow harbour
Padstow Harbour, Cornwall
Padstow Harbour and seagull
After lunch, and still pondering that St. Breock Celtic Cross, we walked along the cliff top overlooking the River Camel estuary and deserted, sandy beaches - a perfect day!

View from the cliffs at Padstow, Cornwall
View from cliffs at Padstow, Cornwall

Padstow, Cornwall
And that's unfortunately the end of the story. I still have to solve the mystery of the Celtic Cross with a $ dollar symbol in the center.

Further Reading:
Magical Cure For Madness At The Cornish Holy Well At St.Cleer
The Cornish Mystery Of The Trevethy Quoit Stones
Following In The Footsteps Of St.Michael In Cornwall

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  1. Anonymous12:20

    What a gorgeous area! And what a nifty little mystery, Mike. When you discover the answer, let us know!

  2. another great cornish post and great photos looks much better than where i am

  3. What a fun mystery. The date of the tomb would mean the symbol was prior to that. I don't think the S has anything to do with money and the center post is taller. Of course there is always the potential it was an eccentric soul or carver who left behind a clue only known by one.

    Happy hunting!

  4. Buried treasure there? Maybe the person buried inside was thought of as a treasure. Kindly let us know when you find out...I love a good mystery!

  5. Kevin12:57

    I recently came across a late 1800s Episcopal prayer book with a similar symbol embossed on the cover, a cross with the dollar sign imposed over it's lower portion.

  6. Anonymous02:22

    It means "I Have Suffered" three letters overlapping, I H S

  7. Thanks for that anonymous, this is the first explanation I have received and have found nothing on Google.

  8. Anonymous11:33

    Close, but it doesn't stand for "I Have Suffered". It's "Iota Eta Sigma", the first 3 letters of Jesus in Greek. My church has this symbol in one of its stained glass windows and we were just discussing what it meant. I looked into it and found the Iota Eta Sigma explanation.