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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 184
Date assigned Thursday, October 19, 1967
Date last amended Tuesday, July 26, 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. The Shall Cross is a good example of a later high cross which displays evidence of the stylistic changes brought to this class of monument by the Viking settlement. It is one of a number of early medieval crosses on the Derbyshire-Cheshire border and probably served as a wayside cross or as a boundary marker. DETAILS The monument is a late ninth or tenth century high cross comprising a gritstone cross shaft mortared onto a modern paving slab. Originally, the shaft may have been set into a socle or socket stone but this is now missing together with the cross head which would formerly have been mounted on the shaft. The latter was replaced in the 18th or 19th century by a sundial set in a dressed gritstone capital. The lower part of the shaft is columnar while the upper part is of tapering rectangular section. The division between the two is marked by a swag and a collar consisting of two rings of roll moulding. The shaft is apparently undecorated but, on the south side, there are several faint incised lines which may be the remains of a very eroded scroll pattern though this is not certain. At the very top of the shaft on the south side is a graffito consisting of the initials HL above a box containing the date 1728. This provides an earliest possible date for the sundial since it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to inscribe the graffito with the sundial in place. The sundial appears to have been taken from an existing feature rather than purpose made since it does not fit the shaft either in style or scale. The cross shaft has a number of damage points filled in with white plaster which, together with the fact that the cross head is missing, suggest that the cross may have been vandalised in the 16th or 17th centuries. The shaft is c.1m high and has a maximum diameter of c.30cm. It is located inside a purpose-built drywalled enclosure which defines the area of the scheduling. The cobbled floor and walls of the enclosure are excluded from the scheduling though the ground underneath is included. SELECTED SOURCES Book Reference - Author: Bunting, W.B. - Title: Chapel en le Frith - Date: 1940 - Page References: 16-17 - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Andrew, W.J. - Date: 1905 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 27 - Page References: 201 - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Gunson, E. - Date: 1905 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 27 - Page References: 186 - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Routh, T.E. - Date: 1937 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 58 - Page References: 14,31 - Type: DESC TEXT

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1967. Scheduling Notification: Anglo Scandinavian high cross known as the Shall Cross. List entry no. 1008825. SM Cat. No. 184.



Grid reference Centred SK 0163 7964 (15m by 15m)
Map sheet SK07NW

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Oct 1 2013 9:43AM

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