- In the Elizabethan theater, a crude form of stage lightingconsisting of an iron cage or basket holding a knot of burning tarredrope. The cresset was usually mounted on the top of a pole or suspendedfrom the ceiling. The word comes from the Old French craisse,grease.
In Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part I the bombasticOwen Glendower announces:At my nativityThe front of heaven was full of fiery shapes,Of burning cressets.(III, i)