Skip to main content

Monument record MDR641 - Robin Hoods Picking Rods, New Mills/Chisworth

Type and Period (2)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

In the 17th century they were known as the Maiden Stones and are almost certainly the lower parts of two Saxon crosses, not later than 10th century. (1) Robin Hood's Picking Rods are one of a group of double crosses that were probably boundary markers, either of Ecclesiastical Divisions or of Danish - English Districts. (2) Comparative to The Bow Stones (SJ 98 SE 10) and The Dipping Stones (SJ 98 SE 5). They are a group of double or paired stones, in Cumberland, dated by Collingwood as late 10th - early 11th century. (3) Pape regards the Picking Rods as Norman or later and a degenerate type of his Clulow and Swithamley (late Anglian) crosses. (4) The remains of two unornamented cross shafts. See G.P. AO/65/94/4-5. (5) West of Far Slack Farm a large irregular base stone 2m X 1m with 2 sockets 530mm and 600mm in diameter. Into these are placed (cemented) cylindrical pillars. In 1810 part of one was removed and has since been replaced. Robin Hood's Picking Rods is a wayside and a boundary cross located together in the north-western gritstone moorlands of the Derbyshire Peak District. The monument includes two cross shafts set into a single socketed base or socle, together with components of the cross heads, which now lie embedded in the ground round the foot of the socle. The north end, which is flanked by a track, is straight while the south end is dressed to a point making the block roughly boat-shaped. On its western edge, near the north-west corner, is a chiselled nail-shaped symbol which may be a mason's mark and possibly also has a Christian significance. The cross shafts consist of cylindrical gritstone columns. The north shaft is the shorter of the two and measures 84cm high. Apart from a section in its upper west face, which has broken away leaving a flat surface, it is uniformly cylindrical and has a circumference of c.154cm. The south shaft is 120cm high and tapers slightly towards the top so that its upper circumference is c.120cm while the lower circumference is 154cm. Both shafts bear toolmarks and a number of 2cm deep cups which may predate the creation of the crosses. The north example is inscribed near the bottom of its north face with the letters PR but the origin of this poor quality graffito is not known. A letter is also inscribed into the top of each shaft where the cross heads would formerly have stood. That in the north shaft is clearly an N while that in the south shaft, though previously also interpreted as an N, appears instead to be a poorly executed S. This suggests that, at some unknown date, after the cross-heads were removed, the columns were marked `north' and `south' for the convenience of travellers crossing the moor. The shafts are set into round sockets, which are c.15cm deep and some 15cm wider in diameter than the shafts. The south shaft is currently cemented into its socket while the north shaft clearly has been cemented as the stain from the cement is visible round the bottom of the shaft. Stones wholly and partially embedded in the earth round the socle are interpreted as sections of the cross heads and include two dressed rectangular blocks on the west side with the appearance of cross arms. There is no decoration on the visible faces of either stone, nor on the cross shafts themselves, making it difficult to date the monument. However, paired crosses with similar massive socles known from other locations near the old Derbyshire-Cheshire county border have been attributed to the Anglian and Anglo-Scandinavian periods. Robin Hood's Picking Rods is a well-preserved example of a simple wayside cross set in its original location on a path across open moorland. It is unusual in that it includes two cross shafts, both of which are true columnar shafts and are, therefore, one of the rarer forms. It lies outside the two main areas of distribution for wayside crosses and also served as a boundary cross marking either early medieval district or ecclesiastical divisions. See Scheduling description for more details. (9) Photograph collection. (10-11) The site is under threat from land-drainage and ground disturbing cultivation, also repairs to the footpath and wall [2003]. (12)

Sources/Archives (12)

  • <1> Article in serial: Phillips, C W. 1937. 'Some stone monuments', Antiquity. Volume 11, No. 43, pp 294-299.
  • <2> Article in serial: Green, C. 1941-2. Lancashire Cheshire Antiquarian Society. Volume 56. pp 114-20.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Collingwood, W G. Pre-Norman Northumbrian Crosses..
  • <4> Article in serial: Pape, T. 1945-6. 'Round-shafted Pre-Norman Crosses', Trans. N.Staffs. Field Club. Vol 80.
  • <5> Personal Observation: F1 JB 18-AUG-65.
  • <6> Bibliographic reference: Bateman, T. 1848. Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire. pp 171-2.
  • <7> Index: NDAT. 0961.
  • <8> Article in serial: Cox, J C. 1904. 'Early crosses in the High Peak', The Athenaeum. No 4002. p 562.
  • <9> Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1993. Scheduling Notification: A wayside and a boundary cross known as Robin Hood's Picking Rods. List entry no. 1008595. SM Cat. No. 12.
  • <10> Photograph: Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA). Slide Collection. 4101.1-3.
  • <11> Photograph: Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA). Black and white photograph collection. 494.22-24.
  • <12> Personal Observation: Smith, K (PPJPB). K Smith (Peak Park Joint Planning Board) personal communication. 17.9.1993.



Grid reference Centred SK 0061 9093 (9m by 14m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

  • EDR1649
  • EDR1202

Please contact the HER for details.

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Oct 14 2013 5:10PM

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.