Monument record MDR3862 - Pre-Conquest carved stones, St Helen's Church, Churchtown, Darley Dale

Type and Period (3)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

A large fragment of an upright Saxon cross was discovered during restoration and refitting of St Helen's Church. It has some bold and rude carving on it, of much the same character as the Bakewell cross. (1) At Darley Dale there was an interesting fragment of pre-Norman sculptured stone found. Mr Bateman took it, and it is now in Sheffield Museum. It is especially interesting, because it has a system of circular rings with interlacing bands, of which there are very few and partial examples out of Wigton and Galloway. Browne found a stone that was discovered in Bakewell and thought to be lost propping up the Darley Dale stone in Sheffield Museum. (2) A fragment of cross-shaft was found during the restoration of Darley Dale church in 1854 and is now in the Sheffield Museum. It is 1 foot 7 inches long by 1 foot 3 inches wide by 11 inches thick. On one of the wide faces is a plait and ring pattern, and on the adjoining narrow face a twist and ring pattern. In the outer walling of the church, to the west of the south porch, is another fragment of a cross, built in the masonry in a vertical position. It shows an edge of interlaced knotwork and two rude human figures side by side. The fragment seems to have come to light in a restoration of 1877 and to have been then placed in its present awkward position. (3) Built into the wall of the porch of Darley Dale church is a stone measuring 11 1/2" by 10" on which is carved an animal looking like an ass with claws instead of hoofs. It is not in accordance with any development of the Anglian beast, nor does it seem to be in any way related to any Scandinavian animal, yet it is difficult to say whether or not it is pre-Conquest. High up in the wall of the south aisle is another carved stone, which, judging by the size of the other stones of which the wall is built, it is about 24" long by 10" high; it is much defaced but a man holding a staff can be discerned, and on the sinister end, a bit of plait-work. It is late work. (4) A large number of sepulchral slabs and carved stones were discovered during restoration work at Darley Church in 1854. Among them was a fragment of the shaft of an Anglican Cross. The fragment is only 19 inches high, but is enough to show that the shaft had a mean breadth of 15 inches, and a thickness of 11 inches. This relic, together within many others discovered at this time, passed in to the possession of Thomas Bateman, and was places in his private museum at Lomberdale House. After Bateman's death, his collection was dispersed, and Weston Park Museum, Sheffield, acquired most of the Derbyshire material, including the fragment of the Darley cross-shaft. A further fragment of an Anglian cross shaft was found c. 1951, when the White House at Darley (see SMR 9821) was demolished. This fragment was of special interest as the design of the ornament is probably unique. There is certainly no similar example so far known in Derbyshire [1951]. It was given to the church by the then owner of the White House. (5) The only Dark Age stone now identifiable in this church is high in the external south chancel wall at SK 26685 62962 [1966]. The porch holds a large collection of 13th to 16th century grave covers and slabs. (6) One Anglo-Saxon cross shaft found in church fabric in 1854 and taken into the Bateman collection. Now in Sheffield City Museum. Further slab monument of possible Anglo-Saxon date found around 1950. Now inside church. (7)

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Cox, J C. 1879. Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire, Vol IV. p 502.
  • <2> Article in serial: Browne, G. 1886. 'On the pre-Norman sculptured stones of Derbyshire', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Vol. 8, pp 164-184. p 177, plate XV fig's 8, 11.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Allen, J R. 1905. 'Early Christian Art' in Page, W (ed.), The Victoria County History of Derbyshire, Vol. I. pp 279-292. p 281.
  • <4> Article in serial: Routh, T. 1937. 'A corpus of the pre-Conquest carved stones of Derbyshire', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 58, pp 1-46. p 25.
  • <5> Article in serial: Hanbury, W. 1951. 'A pre-Norman carved stone at Darley', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Vol. 71, pp 84-86, illust.. pp 84-6 and photo.
  • <6> Personal Observation: F1 FDC 13-JUN-66.
  • <7> Correspondence: Sidebottom, P. 1994. Letter regarding Anglo-Saxon stone monuments in Derbyshire, 15th February, 1994. Letter.



Grid reference Centred SK 2668 6298 (10m by 10m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR1063

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Record last edited

Aug 16 2016 2:44PM

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