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High cross in St Peter's churchyard, Heysham

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: High cross in St Peter's churchyard, Heysham

List entry Number: 1009491

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lancashire

District: Lancaster

District Type: District Authority

Parish:

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 16-May-1949

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Aug-1994

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 23743

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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.

Although only a portion of the cross shaft remains, this portion displays a good example of ninth century AD art styles and attests to the significance of both the church and its environs as a centre of ecclesiastical importance during this period.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the lower part of the decorated shaft of a ninth century Anglian high cross located in the churchyard to the south of St Peter's Church, Heysham. It is constructed of local red sandstone and is set in a modern sandstone base. The shaft is rectangular in cross section and tapers towards the top. It measures 0.85m high. The decoration on the south face of the shaft depicts a human figure, possibly seated, beneath an arch or halo. Beneath this figure there is a panel with interlaced decoration. On the north side of the shaft the decoration depicts a gabled building with a doorway and seven windows or recesses. In the uppermost window there is a human figure and in the doorway there is a human figure apparently swathed in burial clothing. This artwork has been interpreted as the Raising of Lazarus. The sides of the cross shaft are decorated with cabled edging and deeply cut tree scroll.

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.

Selected Sources

Other
Lancs SMR, St Peter's, Heysham, (1994)

National Grid Reference: SD 41058 61617

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1009491 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 24-Nov-2017 at 06:56:55.

End of official listing