Ever wondered what the stone carved religious plaques are around the St. Mary’s Church bell tower and what they depict?
(Front of the Tower Plaques)
These symbols represent “The Passion”
(Below are the three plaques on the front of the tower)
The panel to the left is very worn, but we think, it’s a scroll containing the lettering INRI. The acronym INRI represents the Latin inscription, which in English reads “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” This relates to the label placed on the cross above Christ’s head on his Crucifixion.
The centre panel has a crowned “M” over the front door.
This depicts, Mary Queen of Heaven. This is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary, relating to the dedication of the Church being Saint Mary’s.
This right-hand panel shows a lantern
A lantern was used by the arresting soldiers at the betrayal by Judas Iscariot. It also could mean light in darkness, and it is also symbolic of the word of God.
(Plaques on the South side of the tower.)
The panel on the left shows a drawstring purse.
This portrays the Thirty pieces of Silver. The price for which Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus.
The centre panel shows a pillar and rope.
These symbols depict the Flagellation of Christ. Also sometimes known as Christ at the column or the scourging at the pillar. Pontius Pilate’s guards tied Jesus with ropes to a pillar where criminals were scourged.
The right-hand panel shows the whips used in the scourging of Jesus.
(Plaques on the Back of the Tower)
The left-hand panel shows a robe and dice.
The robe was removed from Christ by the Roman soldiers, shortly before his crucifixion. The robe was seamless, woven in one piece and so could not be torn apart, so the soldiers’ cast lots with the dice to decide who would keep it.
The centre panel shows the Chalice that holds the Holy wine during the Eucharist. The Eucharist is also called the Holy Communion.
This was instituted by Jesus during the Last Supper. He gave his disciples, bread and wine during the Passover meal and commanded his followers “to do this in memory of me” while referring to the bread as “my body” and the wine “as my blood”.
The right-hand panel is three nails that were used to crucify Christ.
(Plaques on The North side of the Tower)
The left-hand panel is a spear and a sponge on a stick.
The sponge on a stick symbolizes when sour wine (vinegar) was offered to Jesus to quench his thirst when he hung on the cross.
The spear was used by a Roman soldier to inflict the final five wounds in his side.
The centre panel shows a hammer and pincers.
The hammer was used to pin Jesus to the cross with the three nails, and the pincers used to remove them.
The right-hand panel shows a ladder.
A ladder was used to remove his body from the cross.
There are twelve panels in total, this could also depict the number of disciples.