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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref Sm Cat. No. 77
Date assigned Thursday, June 23, 1938
Date last amended Thursday, April 21, 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. This cross shaft in All Saints' churchyard is a very fine example of an Anglo-Scandinavian high cross with extremely well-preserved decoration which includes stylised faunal depictions. DETAILS The monument is a Grade I Listed high cross comprising a shouldered gritstone cross shaft mortared onto a modern base. Originally a cross head would have surmounted the shaft but was not found when the shaft was unearthed from a field in Two Dales in the 19th century. It is also likely that the shaft was originally set into a socle or stone cross base. This is indicated by the squared-off undecorated section at the bottom of the shaft which would have slotted into a socket. The shaft is sandstone and tapers quite sharply towards the shoulder. It is of rectangular section and measures 44cm by 30cm at the base and 23cm by 19cm at the shoulder. Above the shoulder is part of a line of cable-moulding. All four faces of the shaft are highly decorated. The ornament is framed by flat-band mouldings which edge the angles of the shaft. Within these frames each face is divided into either two or three panels, all of which contain varying types of interlace and plaiting decoration which, stylistically, appear influenced by Viking art-forms suggesting that the cross dates to the late ninth or tenth century AD. Two panels, occupying the top and bottom of the east face respectively, contain what appear to be stylised bird forms. The shaft is 159cm high and the cross would have been approximately 2m-3m tall with its head and socle. Following its discovery, the shaft stood in the grounds of The Holt in Two Dales until being removed to All Saints' churchyard for safekeeping. SELECTED SOURCES Book Reference - Author: Pevsner, N - Title: The Buildings of England: Derbyshire - Date: 1953 - Page References: 110 - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Heathcote, J.P. - Date: 1961 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 81 - Page References: 137 - Type: DESC TEXT

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1938. Scheduling notification: Anglo-Scandinavian high cross from Two Dales, Darley, now in the churchyard of All Saints' Church. List entry no. 1008618. SM Cat. No. 77.



Grid reference Centred SK 2154 6845 (10m by 10m)
Map sheet SK26NW

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Mar 18 2015 4:44PM

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