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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 352
Date assigned Thursday, August 25, 1994
Date last amended


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 within 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. The Dipping Stone is a good example of an early medieval wayside cross which also functioned as a boundary marker. Though lacking its shafts and cross heads, it is reasonably well preserved and is important as one of the regional group of twin-socketed wayside crosses which also includes the Bow Stones and Robin Hood's Picking Rods. DETAILS The monument is located on the edge of Whaley Moor in the north western gritstone moorlands of the Derbyshire Peak District and is the base or socle of a twin-shafted wayside and boundary cross. It comprises a natural earthfast gritstone boulder which has been roughly dressed in situ to create a wedge-shaped slab. Cut into the surface are two rectangular socket holes which would, originally, have housed twin cross shafts. The shafts and their cross heads are now missing, possibly due to the activities of 16th or 17th century iconoclasts. The north socket measures 47cm north-south by 38cm east-west while the south socket, which is broken on its south side and south west corner, originally measured 43cm north-south by 31cm east-west. The sockets are set c.10cm apart. The socle is undecorated but has faint tool marks visible on all faces. Its maximum length is 140cm and its maximum width is 84cm across the north end narrowing to 49cm at its south end. Generally it stands c.60cm high though, at the south east corner, it is 65cm high. The monument is one of a group of early medieval twin-socketed crosses situated near the border between Derbyshire and Cheshire which are thought not only to mark ancient routes across the moors but also boundaries between adjoining districts. The precise origin of the name Dipping Stone is unknown but it is likely to be a reference to a tradition of baptisms being carried out at the stone as this practice is said to have occurred at other sites where medieval cross bases have survived long after their shafts have gone. Alternatively it may indicate that goods and money were exchanged at the stone during times of plague as the practice of leaving such articles in hollows filled with vinegar is also recorded at other sites. This may serve to explain the origin of the alternative name for the cross base, the Plague Stone. SELECTED SOURCES Book Reference - Author: Shackleton Hill, Angela - Date: 1994 - Type: PHOTO - Description: for MPP Article Reference - Author: Cox, Rev. J.Charles - Title: Early Crosses in the High Peak - Date: 1904 - Journal Title: The Athenaeum - Page References: 562 - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Green, Charles - Date: 1941 - Journal Title: Transactions of the Lancs. & Cheshire Archaeological Society - Volume: 56 - Page References: 114-20 - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Phillips, C.W. - Date: 1937 - Journal Title: Antiquity - Volume: XI - Page References: 294-299 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: Photoes

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1994. Scheduling Notification: Wayside and boundary cross known as The Dipping Stone. List entry no. 1009292. SM Cat. No. 352.



Grid reference Centred SJ 9955 8171 (14m by 19m)
Map sheet SJ98SE

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Sep 6 2013 2:24PM

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