The Stations of the Cross are both the tableaux representing certain scenes in the Passion of Christ, each corresponding to a particular incident, and the special form of devotion connected with such representations.
Stations of the Cross are usually ranged at intervals around the walls of a church, though sometimes they are to be found in the open air, especially on roads leading to a church or shrine. In monasteries they are often placed in the cloisters. The erection and use of the Stations of the Cross did not become at all general before the end of the seventeenth century, but they are now to be found in almost every Catholic Church.
The object of the Stations of the Cross is to help people to make, in spirit, a pilgrimage to the chief scenes of Christ’s sufferings and death, and this has become one of the most popular of Catholic devotions. It is carried out by passing from Station to Station, with certain prayers at each and meditation on the various incidents in turn.
The Stations of the Cross in Saint Edmund’s Church were sculpted in welded phosphor-bronze by Seán Crampton and installed in the church at intervals, one Station at time, from 1983 to 1986. They were paid for entirely by individual parishioners or parish groups. The Royal Society of British Sculptors awarded them the “Otto Beit Medal” for ‘The sculpture of outstanding merit of the year 1986 exhibited outside London’. The award is on display in the church porch.
“The Stations of the Cross in Saint Edmund’s Church, Oxford Road, Calne, Wiltshire, are a major contribution to modern church art in these islands. Thanks to Father John Blacker, parish priest, the stations are in place, fashioned in welded phosphor-bronze by sculptor, Seán Crampton.”
The Catholic Herald. 3rd October 1986.
“Seán Crampton, who has died aged 81, was the award-winning sculptor and war veteran responsible for the construction of the Fourteen Stations of the Cross for the church of Saint Edmund’s in his home town of Calne, Wiltshire. Made in his preferred media of welded phosphor-bronze, these Stations were small in scale compared to some of Crampton’s other works of a monumental nature, but they were large in their importance to the artist creating them.”
The Guardian. 9th August 1999.
The photograph below shows Seán’s original design and drawing for the fourth station, ‘Jesus meets his mother’.