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Scheduled Monument record MDR1900 - Cross-shaft in Grave Yard of St. Michaels Church, Main Road, Taddington

Type and Period (1)

  • (Saxon to 21st Century - 1000 AD? to 2050 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

Cross-shaft in grave yard of St. Michaels Church, Main Road, Taddington, a probable 11th century monument. 'Cross shaft in the churchyard at Taddington with zigzag and saltine cross decorative. Is it Norman?'. (1) Scheduled. 16th century red gritstone cross now sited in the Victorian churchyard. The cross consists of a slender rectangular shaft 6ft tall with chamfered edges set in a plain rectangular base stone. All the faces of the shaft are decorated. Probably Early Medieval. Parts of the shaft exhibit areas of sickle or scythe-sharpening activity. (4) Site monitoring has been carried out and site appears not to be under threat [2012]. (5) From the National Heritage Site for England: 'Reasons for Designation 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 in St Michael's churchyard is an unusual and reasonably well preserved example of an early standing cross. Details The monument is the shaft and socket stone or socle of a probable 11th century standing cross located south of the church of St Michael and All Angels. The socle is a low rectangular sandstone block measuring 60cm x 64cm x c.20cm high. The shaft is also sandstone and stands 182cm high. Originally it would have been surmounted by a cross-head but this is now missing. The shaft is of roughly square section with chamfered angles. Approximately 13cm from the top it begins to splay out, increasing from 24cm square to 30cm square. The corners of the upper face are also chamfered. All four sides of the shaft are decorated. Climbing foliage figures on the west and east faces, incised chevrons on the south face and lozenges broken by horizontal ribs on the north face. This style of ornamentation suggests the cross is of Norman origin and there is some speculation that it marks the site of a Saxon church, though this has not been confirmed. Deep grooves worn in the north west and south west angles of the shaft have been interpreted as places where sickles have been sharpened in the past and this is entirely plausible. A number of graves that lie within the area of the scheduling are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath is included. MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation. Legacy The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system. Legacy System number:23350Legacy System:RSM.' (6)

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Pevsner, N. 1953. The Buildings of England: Derbyshire, 1st edition. p 231.
  • <2> Photograph: Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA). Black and white photograph collection. 1991: 496.1a-11a; 4.14a-15a.
  • <3> Photograph: Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA). Slide Collection. 1991: 13516.1-9.
  • <4> Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1986. Scheduling notification: Taddington Churchyard Cross. Derbyshire 207.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Wheal, S (PDNPA). 2012. Scheduled Monument Monitoring Form: Standing cross in the churchyard of St Michael and All Angels.
  • <6> Listed Building File: Historic England. 2011. The National Heritage List for England.



Grid reference Centred SK 14145 71126 (5m by 5m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

  • EDR887
  • EDR3218

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Record last edited

Jan 27 2020 5:27PM

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