Edward Hunt's Forest of Dean Miscellany

Fact, Fiction and Fantasy

Christ is a Weeping

Before the second world war there was a natural rock formation in a hole at the side of an incline at Wigpool that was referred to as 'Christ is a Weeping' or 'Jesus is a weeping'. Etched in the limestone appeared to be a representation of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. Brian Waters, in his book 'The Forest of Dean', wrote about this local shrine and its eventual destruction, in a fit of envious pique, by its self-appointed guardian. (2016 - EH)

Christ is a Weeping, only a few yards from Nancy's Farm, is an open incline as large as a road. This was improvised as a cinema by the United States Army during the war, and Wigpool cottagers, who had never had so much as a village shop of their own, went to many a free cinema show. Wooden seats were fitted, then the before the Americans left, to the disgust of the commoners, they burnt the seats. Wigpool would not only have liked to make use of the timber, but the fire blackened and blistered the patina of the rock formation which they greatly admired.

Christ is a Weeping was mutilated a number of years earlier. To see it you had to creep through a narrow hole in the incline, and there, in carbonate of lime upon the rock, was a natural bas-relief that the locality took to be a representation of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Christ is a Weeping was, however, unusual, and in a Roman Catholic country it would no doubt have become a place of local and minor pilgrimage; as it was people from time-to-time came to look at it, and as it was hard to find and one needed a candle and matches, a man named Hale, who lived in the nearest cottage, earned a few sixpences and shillings by showing it to visitors. He later moved house to a cottage on another part of the common, and the new occupier of his old home became the unofficial guide in his place. Unreasonably annoyed at seeing his successor inheriting the tips that had once been his, Hale took a stick of dynamite and in the dead of night blew up the bas-relief on the rock.

The above text is from The Forest of Dean by Brian Waters (publisher: Dent)

Edward Hunt