Anglian high cross in the churchyard of St Peter's Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008828

Date first listed: 29-Dec-1953

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Jul-1994


Ordnance survey map of Anglian high cross in the churchyard of St Peter's Church
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Derbyshire

District: High Peak (District Authority)

Parish: Hope

National Park: PEAK DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: SK 17232 83451


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 important.

This cross in St Peter's churchyard is a reasonably well-preserved example of a late Anglian high cross whose form and unusual carvings illustrate some of the influence brought to this class of monument by the Viking settlement.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument is a probable ninth century high cross located immediately south of St Peter's Church. It comprises a rectangular section gritstone shaft set into a modern socle or socket stone. Originally a cross head would have surmounted the shaft but this is now missing. The shaft is c.2.5m tall by 42cm wide north-south by 26cm east-west and has been broken and pieced back together. It's original location is not known but it is common for early medieval crosses in Derbyshire to have been located south of a church. The shaft tapers towards the top and is also slightly tapered near the base. Flat-band mouldings line its angles, ending in small plinths at the base. These mouldings, which are broken in places, frame panels of carved ornamentation. The west face of the cross includes three panels separated by flat-band mouldings. The topmost contains interlace decoration, the bottom one a circular `Celtic' style of interlace, and the centre one a pair of figures in a rectangular frame. The figures are too faint to identify. The east face has five panels, the topmost containing interlace while the next one down contains a possible crucifixion scene comprising two figures on either side of an eroded vertical object which may be a cross or a tree. The middle panel contains more `Celtic' interlace and the two lower panels each contain a stylised leaf or flower, more or less identical but for the angle at which each is set and comprising a single stalk with five petals or leaf- segments. The north and south faces each have a small upper panel, accounting for about a quarter of the shaft, with a larger panel below which, in both cases, contains interlace decoration. On the south face the upper panel contains interlace of a different form while, on the north face, it contains floral decoration comprising berries and curling leaves. This design indicates that, although the cross includes elements suggestive of Viking influence, it is probably a late example of a native Anglian cross rather than a true Anglo- Scandinavian hybrid. The cross is also Listed Grade II. A number of graves falling within the area of scheduling, together with the surface of the adjacent path, are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 1 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: 23357

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Derbyshire, (1953), 163
Routh, T E, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Derbyshire Archaeological Journal, , Vol. 58, (1937), 31-2

End of official listing