cropped-ireland-cropped.jpgThis picture of Ireland was taken in Dorset in 1923, on a holiday with Arthur Miller. In it he poses with his hand on a small stone monolith, known as the Cross-in-Hand (or Cross and Hand) stone. It stands on the Wessex Ridgeway near Cerne Abbas. The stone’s history is unclear, but it is most likely a mark or boundary stone or the relic of a former cross. It has a number of legends attached and was captured twice in words by Thomas Hardy. In Tess of the d’Urbervilles Alec and Tess stand beside the stone after an unexpected encounter, and in his poem of 1900, ‘The Lost Pyx’, Hardy makes specific references to it:

Some say the spot is banned: that the pillar Cross-and-Hand
Attests to a deed of hell;
But of else than of bale is the mystic tale
That ancient Vale-folk tell.


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