Our recent blog post focusing on the history of the Cross has bought to our attention a link to another commemorative Celtic Cross. This is the Prayer Book Cross, or Drake Cross, situated in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco which was erected in 1894 to mark the occasion of Sir Francis Drake’s landing and the first Church of England sermon on the American continent. This Cross served as inspiration for Archdeacon Walsh to create and raise funds for a monument to Samuel Marsden’s landing and first sermon in New Zealand.
Here is a Diocese of Auckland Church Gazette article from 1905 which gives the background to the Marsden Cross and mentions the cross at Golden Gate:
“Through the generosity of Mr G. W. Childs of Philadelphia, the Bishop of San Francisco was able to place, some years ago, at the “Golden Gate”, a gigantic monument known as “The Prayer Book Cross”, to mark the spot where Francis Drake’s chaplain held the first Anglican service on the Pacific Coast of America. It is not likely that we should be able to afford a monument on the same scale, but we could easily manage a substantial stone cross of sufficient dimensions to be a conspicuous landmark plainly visible from the ships entering the Bay of Islands.”
Another earlier article from the Church Gazette describes the Drake Cross and it’s unveiling, likely this was read with enthusiasm by Archdeacon Walsh:
“It was at first intended to have the monument erected at Drake’s Bay, but when the Park commissioners tended a site on an elevation of up to 300 feet above the ocean, where the monument would be visible to observers from the ocean, from the Golden Gate, and from the city, and be a conspicuous landmark, it was decided to accept the offer. The monument is in the shape of a Celtic cross and is known as the ‘Prayer-Book Cross’. It is the largest cross in the world, and is one of the most notable pieces of stonework in the American continent.”