It’s just a ruin in a field now, but in 15th-century England, Boxley Abbey was a hotspot for the faithful. Pilgrims would travel from across the land to see a statue of Christ on the cross that was housed in the monastery and known as the Rood of Grace. On holy days, the Christ would come alive, with a contemporary account describing how the figure hypnotized crowds with its ability to:

 “shake and stirre the hands and feete, to nod the head, to rolle the eies, to wag the chaps, to bende the browes […] shewing a most milde, amiable, and smyling cheere and countenance.” 1

During Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries, the Rood was removed and its secrets laid bare. Inspectors discovered that protruding from Christ’s back was a mess of “wire [and] old rotten sticks.”

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Published by Mike Rawson

Mike Rawson has recently re-awoken a long-standing interest in robots and our automated future. He lives in London with a single android - a temperamental vacuum cleaner - but is looking forward to getting more cyborgs soon.

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Please ignore the robots – The Verge

by Mike Rawson time to read: 1 min
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