Spoil Bank Crucifix

The Spoil Bank Crucifix was carved by Eric Gill after a funding appeal in 1919.
It was intended to commemorate the fallen of the First World War, and to reflect Gills distaste of his experience during his short spell in the RAF mechanical transport in 1918.

Crucifix was erected on the "Spoil Bank" on Ditchling Common at the corner of Folders lane, in November 1922. It was twenty six feet tall and originally stood overlooking the railway. It stood on a plinth on the Spoil Bank until 1940, when it was taken down, to stop it being used as a marker to identify the railway tracks for enemy attacks on London.

It was stored in the Guilds workshops at the end of Folders Lane but was sold after the second world war. The arms and the upper horizontal section of the cross were lost, and what was left, was acquired from the Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic, and now hangs in the Chapel and Cultural Centre of the Rensselaer Newman Foundation, in Troy, Upper New York State.

The "Corpus" is now on display at the Rensselaer Newman Foundation
2125 Burdett Avenue
Troy, New York 12180

Spoil Bank Crucifix 1919 funding appeal

Letter, May 21st 1919, asking for Bernard Morgans name to be included on the Crucifix inscription

Spoil Bank Crucifix

SBC Christs feet (detail)

Spoil Bank Crucifix from railway on Ditchling Common

Spoil Bank Crucifix plinth, still in its original position

The "Spoil bank" at junction of Ditchling
Common and Folders Lane.
"Spoil Bank Crusifix" shown top left

Gill woodcut for Spoil Bank Cricifix

1955 photo of the Crucifix
standing ouside the guild workshops on the Ditchling common

Hilary Pepler standing near Pollards farm on Ditchling Common,
with the Spoil Bank Crucifix in the background

The crucifix inspired Gills sister Edid to write the following lines:-

There was a cross on Calvary
And stark against the sky,
There hung the Christ of all the world:
Men Saw and passed it by.
There is a cross on the wide Downs
High on a hill it stands:
And men have carved and placed it there,
With love inspired hands.
They left him dead on Calvary
But he is living still:
His cross against an English sky
Christ, on a Sussex hill.

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