Cleulow Cross high cross, 200m north of Fourways


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Cleulow Cross high cross, 200m north of Fourways
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Cheshire East (Unitary Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SJ 95203 67400

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.

Cleulow Cross high cross is nearly complete in spite of wind erosion and is a good example of a regional type of high cross. It is in its original position and may have been a boundary marker for the early medieval parish of Prestbury.


The monument includes an Anglo-Saxon high cross on a mound raised from a spur overlooking the valley of the Shell Brook. The cross survives as a large base and shaft with the remains of a small wheelhead cross on the top. The base is an irregular quadrangular block of fine gritstone measuring 1.1m wide on the south side, 1.14m on the east side, 0.85m on the north side and 1.13m on the west side. The block is 0.47m high. The shaft and head are cut from a single block of gritstone in the form of a tapering column to a collar and then squared up to the wheel shaped head. The columnar shaft is 1.95m to the collar from the base. It is 0.46m in diameter at the bottom tapering to 0.34m at the collar. The collar is a double roll moulding surmounted by a 0.75m squared pillar rising from four shoulders with a simple roll moulding at the corners. The pillar has a roll moulded band supporting the fragment of the head. The cross is weathered which has obscured any trace of decoration on the faces. The type of sculpture is late Anglo-Saxon and is an example of a kind known locally as a late Mercian round shaft, dating from the late ninth or early tenth century. This cross is one of a group of round shafts in this region, including one at Swythamley Hall to the south and three from Ridge Hall Farm to the north, now in Macclesfield West Park. The crosses form markers for a boundary along the hillsides above the Cheshire Plain and define the early medieval estate and parish of Prestbury.

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
Bailey, R N, Cramp, R, Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture, (1988), 54-56
Earwacker, JP, East Cheshire, (1880), 435
Higham, N J, The Origins of Cheshire, (1993), 172-3
Cheshire SMR, Treasures,


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

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