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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 64
Date assigned Monday, April 15, 1935
Date last amended Thursday, April 21, 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. Lady's Cross is a reasonably well-preserved example of a finely dressed wayside cross set in its original location at a crossroads on open moorland. Associated with it is part of a possibly earlier cross shaft in addition to the stone-getters' hollow from which the stone for the cross was quarried. It lies outside the two main areas of distribution for wayside crosses and also served as a boundary cross marking the edge of the Beauchief Abbey estate. DETAILS Lady's Cross is a medieval wayside and boundary cross which marks both an ancient crossroads on Big Moor in the East Moors of the Peak District and the former estate boundary of Beauchief Abbey. The monument includes the shaft stump and base of the cross, the stone-getters' hollow in which the cross stands and from which its stone was quarried and further sections of the cross shaft which now lie embedded in the ground on the west side. Also included are those stones next to the cross base which are either roughouts or fragments of an earlier cross. The base or socle of the present cross comprises a dressed gritstone block measuring 65cm by 63cm with a visible height of 46cm. The top is inscribed on the south side with the letters MB, on the east side with a small Greek cross and, on the north side, with a Latin cross and figures which appear to read IR 1618. On the north face of the socle is a chiselled T-shaped symbol which may represent a nail and have a Christian significance. The stump of the undecorated gritstone cross shaft is square-sectioned with chamfered corners and is set into a square socket. It is 65cm tall and measures 27cm wide on each side. On the west side of the cross are four stone blocks which, at an unknown period, have been placed end to end and are now embedded in the ground. The two northernmost fit together perfectly. They are of the same square-sectioned and chamfered appearance as the socketed shaft, are of the same finely dressed stone and are weathered to the same degree. This indicates that they are broken fragments of the same cross shaft. The next stone does not fit in line and, though roughly dressed, does not have chamfered corners. It is therefore interpreted either as a discarded roughout for the present cross shaft or, alternatively, as part of an earlier cross which may have stood on the same site. The fourth stone in the line does not appear to be a cross fragment though it may, again, be a discarded roughout. Lady's Cross is recorded as being in existence in 1263. It is prominently situated on top of a rise and, when it stood to its full height, estimated at some 2m, it would have been visible for miles around. It is associated with a number of hollow ways which cross this part of the moor and are medieval and post-medieval in date. In this way it is connected with another wayside cross which marks a clapper bridge over the Barbrook, c.400m to the south east. SELECTED SOURCES Book Reference - Author: Cameron, K. - Title: The Place Names of Derbyshire - Date: 1959 - Page References: 265 - Type: MENTION Article Reference - Author: Ward, G.H.B. - Date: 1920 - Journal Title: Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society - Volume: 2 - Page References: 139 - Type: DESC TEXT

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1935. Scheduling Notification: Wayside and boundary cross known as Lady's Cross. List entry no. 1008614. SM Cat. No. 64.



Grid reference Centred SK 2722 7823 (10m by 10m)
Map sheet SK27NE

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Sep 6 2013 2:41PM

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