If you walk down the stairs to the crypt, you are stepping back in time. In this holy place the spirits of Cedd and Chad move on the stones of the floor and in the air that you breathe. Stephens first act was to build a crypt where the little stone church stood as a shrine to St. Cedd. So as you look towards the altar in the crypt, you may well be looking at the very place where St Chad celebrated Mass, and beside which his brother Cedd is Buried.
An entrance from the outside on the north side enabled pilgrims to come directly to the shrine to pray at the place of burial of St. Cedd.
The Arches are typically early Norman; the pillars show a gradual growth in ornamentation, but most have a simple ram's horn capital as in the work of the same period in the upper Church. The crypt is a little church in itself, with side aisles and apse. This is unique in a crypt in England. But the glory of Lastingham lies not in its architectural features, but in the atmosphere of Christianity which speaks to us across the centauries. The Crypt has remained virtually unchanged since the time of William the Conqueror.
Holy Communion is celebrated in the Crypt every Wednesday Morning at 9.30 am
Photo (c) Dan Ranlet, 2003