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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 12
Date assigned Monday, June 21, 1993
Date last amended Thursday, March 17, 1994


REASONS FOR DESIGNATION Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross erected during the medieval period, mostly from the 9th to 15th centuries AD. In addition to serving the function of reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, wayside crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in difficult and otherwise unmarked terrain. The crosses might be on regularly used routes linking ordinary settlements or on routes having a more specifically religious function, including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners and funeral processions, or marking long-distance routes frequented on pilgrimages. Over 350 wayside crosses are known nationally, concentrated in south-west England throughout Cornwall and on Dartmoor where they form the commonest type of stone cross. A small group also occurs on the North York Moors. Relatively few examples have been recorded elsewhere and these are generally confined to remote moorland locations. Outside Cornwall almost all wayside crosses take the form of a 'latin' cross, in which the cross-head itself is shaped with the projecting arms of an unenclosed cross. In Cornwall wayside crosses vary considerably in form and decoration. The commonest type includes a round, or 'wheel', head on the faces of which various forms of cross or related designs were carved in relief or incised, the spaces between the cross arms possibly pierced. The design was sometimes supplemented with a relief figure of Christ and the shaft might bear decorative panels and motifs. Less common forms in Cornwall include the 'Latin' cross and, much rarer, the simple slab with a low relief cross on both faces. Rare examples of wheel-head and slab-form crosses also occur within the North York Moors group. Most wayside crosses have either a simple socketed base or show no evidence for a separate base at all. Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval religious customs and sculptural traditions and to our knowledge of medieval routeways and settlement patterns. All wayside crosses which survive as earth- fast monuments, except those which are extremely damaged and removed from their original locations, are considered worthy of protection. Robin Hood's Picking Rods is a well-preserved example of a simple wayside cross set in its original location on a path across open moorland. It is unusual in that it includes two cross shafts, both of which are true columnar shafts and are, therefore, one of the rarer forms. It lies outside the two main areas of distribution for wayside crosses and also served as a boundary cross marking either early medieval district or ecclesiastical divisions. DETAILS Robin Hood's Picking Rods is a wayside and a boundary cross located together in the north-western gritstone moorlands of the Derbyshire Peak District. The monument includes two cross shafts set into a single socketed base or socle, together with components of the cross heads which now lie embedded in the ground round the foot of the socle. The socle comprises a massive, rough-hewn gritstone block with an average height of 60cm, a maximum north-south length of 205cm and a maximum east-west width of 112cm. The north end, which is flanked by a track, is straight while the south end is dressed to a point making the block roughly boat-shaped. On its western edge, near the north-west corner, is a chiselled nail-shaped symbol which may be a mason's mark and possibly also has a Christian significance. The cross shafts consist of cylindrical gritstone columns. The north shaft is the shorter of the two and measures 84cm high. Apart from a section in its upper west face which has broken away leaving a flat surface, it is uniformly cylindrical and has a circumference of c.154cm. The south shaft is 120cm high and tapers slightly towards the top so that its upper circumference is c.120cm while the lower circumference is 154cm. Both shafts bear toolmarks and a number of 2cm deep cups which may predate the creation of the crosses. The north example is inscribed near the bottom of its north face with the letters PR but the origin of this poor quality graffito is not known. A letter is also inscribed into the top of each shaft where the cross heads would formerly have stood. That in the north shaft is clearly an N while that in the south shaft, though previously also interpreted as an N, appears instead to be a poorly executed S. This suggests that, at some unknown date, after the cross-heads were removed, the columns were marked `north' and `south' for the convenience of travellers crossing the moor. The shafts are set into round sockets which are c.15cm deep and some 15cm wider in diameter than the shafts. The south shaft is currently cemented into its socket while the north shaft clearly has been cemented as the stain from the cement is visible round the bottom of the shaft. Stones wholly and partially embedded in the earth round the socle are interpreted as sections of the cross heads and include two dressed rectangular blocks on the west side with the appearance of cross arms. The most visible of these is 46cm long by 20cm wide and has a visible thickness of c.15cm. The other, whose edges have been located by probing, is of a similar thickness and is estimated as measuring c.41cm by c.18cm. There is no decoration on the visible faces of either stone, nor on the cross shafts themselves, making it difficult to date the monument. However, paired crosses with similar massive socles known from other locations near the old Derbyshire-Cheshire county border have been attributed to the Anglian and Anglo-Scandinavian periods. SELECTED SOURCES Book Reference - Author: Collingwood, W.G. - Title: Pre-Norman Northumbrian Crosses - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Cox, Rev. J.C. - Title: Early Crosses in the High Peak - Date: 1904 - Journal Title: The Athenaeum - Volume: 9 July - Page References: 562 - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Green, Charles - Date: 1941 - Journal Title: Transactions of the Lancashire & Cheshire Antiquarian Society - Volume: 56 - Page References: 114-120 - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Pape, T. - Title: Round-shafted Pre-Norman Crosses - Date: 1945 - Journal Title: Transactions of the North Staffordshire Fd. Club - Volume: 80 - Page References: 39 - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Phillips, C.W. - Date: 1937 - Journal Title: Antiquity - Volume: 11 - Page References: 296-299 - Type: PHOTO

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1993. Scheduling Notification: A wayside and a boundary cross known as Robin Hood's Picking Rods. List entry no. 1008595. SM Cat. No. 12.



Grid reference Centred SK 0061 9093 (9m by 14m)
Map sheet SK09SW

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Sep 4 2013 4:44PM

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