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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 155
Date assigned Wednesday, May 23, 1962
Date last amended Monday, August 8, 1994


REASONS FOR DESIGNATION High crosses, frequently heavily decorated, were erected in a variety of locations in the eighth, ninth and tenth centuries AD. They are found throughout northern England with a few examples further south. Surviving examples are of carved stone but it is known that decorated timber crosses were also used for similar purposes and some stone crosses display evidence of carpentry techniques in their creation and adornment, attesting to this tradition. High crosses have shafts supporting carved cross heads which may be either free-armed or infilled with a 'wheel' or disc. They may be set within dressed or rough stone bases called socles. The cross heads were frequently small, the broad cross shaft being the main feature of the cross. High crosses served a variety of functions, some being associated with established churches and monasteries and playing a role in religious services, some acting as cenotaphs or marking burial places, and others marking routes or boundaries and acting as meeting places for local communities. Decoration of high crosses divides into four main types: plant scrolls, plaiting and interlace, birds and animals and, lastly, figural representation which is the rarest category and often takes the form of religious iconography. The carved ornamentation was often painted in a variety of colours though traces of these pigments now survive only rarely. The earliest high crosses were created and erected by the native population, probably under the direction of the Church, but later examples were often commissioned by secular patrons and reflect the art styles and mythology of Viking settlers. Several distinct regional groupings and types of high cross have been identified, some being the product of single schools of craftsmen. There are fewer than 50 high crosses surviving in England and this is likely to represent only a small proportion of those originally erected. Some were defaced or destroyed during bouts of iconoclasm during the 16th and 17th centuries. Others fell out of use and were taken down and reused in new building works. They provide important insights into art traditions and changing art styles during the early medieval period, into religious beliefs during the same era and into the impact of the Scandinavian settlement of the north of England. All well-preserved examples are identified as nationally important. This cross in All Saints' churchyard is a good example of an early high cross dating to the eighth or ninth century. Although it is incompletely restored and damaged both by weathering and past human action, it nevertheless illustrates well the forms of ornament typical of the Anglian period. DETAILS The monument is a restored Anglian high cross located in the churchyard on the south side of All Saints' church. It comprises a massive gritstone cross shaft mortared into a modern gritstone socle or socket stone. Originally a cross head would have surmounted the shaft. This was not restored to the monument but was retained within the church. The shaft is of rectangular section and has massive flat-band mouldings along its angles. These mouldings frame panels containing a variety of carved ornamentation which includes both figural and floral elements. On the south face most of the decoration is too faint to decipher but, at the bottom, there is a panel containing a crucifixion scene. This consists of the cross with Christ in relief flanked on either side by standing figures, one of whom carries a spear and probably represents the Roman soldier who, in the biblical account of the crucifixion, speared Christ in the side. Discs above the arms of the cross may represent the sun and the moon. The west face is decorated with plant scrolls and leaves and includes, at the very bottom, an arched feature which is reminiscent of the drawn bow and arrow on the Anglian cross in All Saints' churchyard, Bakewell. The Bradbourne example is damaged, however, and it is difficult to say whether it represents a similar hunting motif. The north face includes four panels framed by narrow mouldings, each of which contains a figural carving. The upper three all contain pairs of figures but are too faint to identify. The bottom panel possibly contains an angel as there is a suggestion of wings over the shoulders. The east face contains floral decoration of an unusual form consisting of a central rib, representing a trunk or stem, with scrolls branching off it to the sides. The shaft is pieced together from at least three sections and, on the upper section which appears to have been split transversely, the plant stem is missing though the scrolls are still in evidence. The whole shaft tapers very slightly towards the top and measures c.2.5m high by 51cm east-west by 36cm north-south. The modern socle measures 50cm by 45cm. A number of modern graves fall within the area of the scheduling and, together with the surface of the churchyard path which flanks the cross to the west, are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included. The cross is also Listed Grade II. SELECTED SOURCES Book Reference - Title: Victoria County History: Derby I - Date: 1905 - Volume: 1 - Page References: 281 - Type: DESC TEXT Book Reference - Author: Green, M.J. - Title: The Religion of Civilian Roman Britain - Date: 1976 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: BAR Series 24 Article Reference - Date: 1947 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 67 - Page References: 120 - Type: PHOTO Article Reference - Author: Brooke, ? - Date: 1796 - Journal Title: Archaeologia - Volume: 12 - Page References: 6 - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Routh, T.E. - Date: 1937 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 58 - Page References: 19-23 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: Illustrated

External Links (1)

Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1962. Scheduling notification: Anglian high cross in the churchyard of All Saints' Church. List entry no. 1008823. SM Cat. No. 155.



Grid reference Centred SK 2080 5272 (14m by 11m)
Map sheet SK25SW

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Jul 31 2013 4:05PM

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