It was the custom for the more formal ceremonies to be performed outside for
the benefit of the public audience. Here we see Harold with his right hand touching
a portable altar or reliquary as indicated by the two poles. This reliquary
may well have belonged to Harold himself and might have contained the relics
of the blessed martyr St. Pancras which Harold later presented to his church
of Waltham Holy Cross.
Saint Pancras was a fourth century Roman martyr whose relics were installed at Jarrow by Oswiu, King of Northumbria, having received them as a reward from Pope Vitalian I. Saint Pancras traveled to Rome with his father at the age of 14, where he was converted to Christianity. He is believed to have been martyred under Diocletian in 304 AD. Saint Pancras is the Patron Saint of children, oath-takers and treaty-makers.
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