• 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 nativity
    The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes,
    Of burning cressets.
    (III, i)