Anglo-Scandinavian high cross from Two Dales, Darley, now in the churchyard of All Saints' Church
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 24-Jul-2019 at 07:32:30.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Derbyshire Dales (District Authority)
- National Park:
- PEAK DISTRICT
- National Grid Reference:
- SK 21547 68458
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 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.
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
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:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Derbyshire, (1953), 110
Heathcote, J P, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in , , Vol. 81, (1961), 137
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