Anglo-Scandinavian cross, 2m south of St Edward's Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012657

Date first listed: 02-Dec-1964

Date of most recent amendment: 13-Jul-1995


Ordnance survey map of Anglo-Scandinavian cross, 2m south of St Edward's Church
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Staffordshire

District: Staffordshire Moorlands (District Authority)

Parish: Leek

National Grid Reference: SJ 98319 56617


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.

The cross to the south of St Edward's Church is a good example of an early medieval cross. Situated in the churchyard, it provides a valuable insight into the variability of form and decoration of these types of monument. While part of the cross-shaft survives from early medieval times, subsequent restoration illustrates the continued function of the cross as a public monument and amenity. The survival of a second cross within the same churchyard enhances the interest of the monument.


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


The monument includes part of an Anglo-Scandinavian cross situated within the churchyard of St Edward's Church, 2m to the south of the church. The cross is Listed Grade II and is early medieval and modern in date. The monument includes a modern socket-stone and part of a shaft. The shaft stands on a socket-stone which measures 1m square and is included in the scheduling. Carved from a single block of Millstone Grit, the shaft is rectangular in section and measures 0.45m north-south and 0.3m west-east at its base. It stands to a height of 1.9m and has been repaired. The four sides of the shaft are divided into panels of decoration containing simple ornamental patterns, including interlaced plaitwork, a key pattern and figure-of-eight knotwork. The central part of the western and northern sides of the shaft have been cut away, but the decoration of the upper and lower parts of these faces remains visible and provides evidence that the shaft was originally taller. Approximately 25m to the north east of the cross are the standing remains of a second early medieval cross which is the subject of a separate scheduling. The burial monument on the south east side of the cross and the gravestones immediately surrounding the cross are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath the gravestones is included.

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: 21607

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Jeavons, S A, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeological Society' in Anglo-Saxon Cross-shafts in Staffordshire, , Vol. 66, (1946), 116

End of official listing