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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 503
Date assigned Friday, November 24, 2000
Date last amended


REASONS FOR DEISGNATION A standing cross is a free standing upright structure, usually of stone, mostly erected during the medieval period (mid 10th to mid 16th centuries AD). Standing crosses served a variety of functions. In churchyards they served as stations for outdoor processions, particularly in the observance of Palm Sunday. Elsewhere, standing crosses were used within settlements as places for preaching, public proclamation and penance, as well as defining rights of sanctuary. Standing crosses were also employed to mark boundaries between parishes, property, or settlements. A few crosses were erected to commemorate battles. Some crosses were linked to particular saints, whose support and protection their presence would have helped to invoke. Crosses in market places may have helped to validate transactions. After the Reformation, some crosses continued in use as foci for municipal or borough ceremonies, for example as places for official proclamations and announcements; some were the scenes of games or recreational activity. Standing crosses were distributed throughout England and are thought to have numbered in excess of 12,000. However, their survival since the Reformation has been variable, being much affected by local conditions, attitudes and religious sentiment. In particular, many cross-heads were destroyed by iconoclasts during the 16th and 17th centuries. Less than 2,000 medieval standing crosses, with or without cross-heads, are now thought to exist. The oldest and most basic form of standing cross is the monolith, a stone shaft often set directly in the ground without a base. The most common form is the stepped cross, in which the shaft is set in a socket stone and raised upon a flight of steps; this type of cross remained current from the 11th to 12th centuries until after the Reformation. Where the cross-head survives it may take a variety of forms, from a lantern-like structure to a crucifix; the more elaborate examples date from the 15th century. Much less common than stepped crosses are spire-shaped crosses, often composed of three or four receding stages with elaborate architectural decoration and/or sculptured figures; the most famous of these include the Eleanor crosses, erected by Edward I at the stopping places of the funeral cortege of his wife, who died in 1290. Also uncommon are the preaching crosses which were built in public places from the 13th century, typically in the cemeteries of religious communities and cathedrals, market places and wide thoroughfares; they include a stepped base, buttresses supporting a vaulted canopy, in turn carrying either a shaft and head or a pinnacled spire. Standing crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval customs, both secular and religious, and to our knowledge of medieval parishes and settlement patterns. All crosses which survive as standing monuments, especially those which stand in or near their original location, are considered worthy of protection. The cross base 780m south west of Arkwright Plantation appears to be in an original location and is important as one of a small number of surviving monuments indicating the extent of medieval landholdings and boundaries in the Peak District. DETAILS The monument includes a medieval cross base of millstone grit with a rectangular socket hole. The cross base stands in an isolated position in an area of open heath and moorland and is partly sunken into the soft ground. It is approximately 0.75m square and stands about 0.6m high, although some of the base may be obscured below ground. The sides of the base are square at the bottom, but taper over the upper half of the stone. The socket measures 0.28m by 0.26m, indicating that it once held a rectangular sectioned cross shaft. The shaft is now missing, but the base has been associated with a 10th century cross shaft of similar dimensions, now in Bakewell churchyard, but said to have been found on these moorlands. Alternatively, the cross base may be associated with a boundary cross to the medieval grange at Harewood, or could be the base to a waymarker stone. SELECTED SOURCES Book Reference - Author: Barnatt, JW - Title: The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands) - Date: 1998 - Page References: 138-9 Book Reference - Author: Barnatt, JW - Title: The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands) - Date: 1998 - Page References: 138-9 Unpublished Title Reference - Author: Sidebottom, PC - Title: Schools of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture in the North Midlands - Date: 1994 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: unpublished PhD thesis

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 2000. Scheduling Notification: Medieval cross base 780m south west of Arkwright Plantation. List entry no. 1019295. SM Cat. No. 503.



Grid reference Centred SK 2969 6769 (5m by 4m)
Map sheet SK26NE

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Oct 21 2013 9:38AM

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