Pilgrims Way: Watts Memorial

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Posted 23rd January 2019

Pilgrims Way
Watts Memorial

Pilgrims Way, which passes along the bottom of the hill by Limnerslease, is the historic route taken by pilgrims from the shrine of St. Swithun in Winchester to the shrine of St. Thomas Becket in Canterbury.

This Celtic-style cross was created by Mary Watts in memory of her husband George Frederic Watts. The memorial was made from terracotta dug from the surrounding land and was moulded at the Compton Pottery, founded by Mary Watts in 1898.

On one side of the memorial is Christ upon the cross, arms outstretched in self-sacrifice; underneath, Chaucer's pilgrims are depicted making their way to Canterbury. On the other side is a sword, possibly symbolising the martyrdom of Thomas Becket, murdered by four knights in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170.

Both sides are decorated with a variation on a Celtic shield-knot, for protection from evil spirits or danger. Interlaced knot-work down the edges of the cross forms a never-ending path, representing the experiences of the individual as they go on their journey through life.

'Close to Limnerslease there runs a delightful ride, part of the Pilgrims' Way, known by the name of Sandy Lane, delightful in being in all weathers soft to the hoof of a horse. Cantering along neck and neck through the aisle of trees in winter… there were days in March especially when the blues and purples of this English landscape were divine, and on these rides he filled his eyes with colour' – Mary Watts


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