Anglian high cross in the churchyard of All Saints' Church
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1008617
Date first listed: 13-Apr-1949
Date of most recent amendment: 21-Apr-1994
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Derbyshire Dales (District Authority)
National Park: PEAK DISTRICT
National Grid Reference: SK 21576 68466
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
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
This cross in the churchyard of Bakewell parish church, although not complete, is a fine example of an early high cross with a collared shaft. Although the state of preservation of its decoration is variable, it illustrates well the forms of ornament typical of crosses of the Anglian period.
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
The monument is a Grade I Listed Anglian high cross and probably dates to the
eighth century AD when Bakewell was a royal centre. It includes a collared
shaft and a large boulder into which the shaft is set. Originally, a cross
head would have surmounted the shaft above the collar but this is now missing.
It is also not clear whether the boulder is the original base.
The sandstone shaft is of rectangular section and tapers slightly towards the
collar. The angles of both shaft and collar are edged with flat-band mouldings
which create panels for the raised decoration which entirely covers the cross.
Both typical and rarer forms of ornament are represented. On the south, east
and north faces of the shaft, these include vine scrolls with leaves and berry
bunches. On the north face of the collar, part of an interlace pattern
survives while a hunting motif is apparent on the east faces of both shaft and
collar. On the latter this is represented by the remains of a left-facing
figure mounted on a cantering horse. On the shaft, immediately below the
collar, is a scene in which one animal, possibly a deer, has been brought down
by a hound or, alternatively, given its tufted tail, a lion or wolf. At the
bottom of the shaft a bent bow and arrow points upward, aiming through the
foliage at the two animals. The decoration on the west side of the cross
comprises several panels of figural carving which do not survive well though
they can still be made out. The best preserved is on the collar. This is a
crucifixion scene consisting of a chequered convex band, representing Calvary,
on which stands the cross flanked by two figures interpreted as the Virgin and
St John. The upper section of the scene has been lost to erosion but Christ's
legs are depicted on the surviving portion of the cross. Below the crucifixion
is a panel containing two standing figures while, beneath this, is a pieta;
that is, a representation of the Virgin holding the dead Christ across her
lap. The panel below this one appears to contain the Madonna and Child while
the lowest scene seems to show Christ being laid in the tomb. Interpretation
of the figural carvings is aided by a 19th century engraving by J H LeKeux
which suggests that the scenes were much clearer a hundred years ago than they
Because the cross is fenced off no accurate measurements are available. At its
broadest the shaft appears to measure c.50cm north-south by c.30cm east-west
and, including the collar, is over 2m high. However, the lack of a figure
holding the bow at the bottom of the east face indicates that a sizeable
section is missing and that, originally, it was probably some 3m tall. The
cross head would have added extra height making the cross between 3.5m and 4m
high. The cross's iconographic ornament and current location in a churchyard
suggests a possible liturgical role though the hunting motif may indicate an
alternative function. Excluded from the scheduling are the iron railings and
plinth enclosing the cross, except where the railings are set directly into
the boulder, the surface of the path to the east of the cross and the
surrounding graves and gravestones, although the ground beneath these features
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.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 23344
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Derby: Volume I, (1905), 287
Cox, Reverend J C, The Churches of Derbyshire, (1877), 37
Tudor, T L, The High Peak to Sherwood302-3
Routh, T E, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in A Corpus Of Pre-Conquest Carved Stones In Derbyshire, , Vol. 58, (1937), 5-7
Engraving of west side of cross, LeKeux, J H,
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing