Cross in St Michael's churchyard, Addingham


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012823

Date first listed: 16-Jan-1968

Date of most recent amendment: 14-Jun-1995


Ordnance survey map of Cross in St Michael's churchyard, Addingham
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Eden (District Authority)

Parish: Glassonby

National Grid Reference: NY 57435 38292


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 the cross head and a portion of the shaft remains and it is not in its original location, the cross in St Michael's churchyard displays a good example of 10th/11th century AD Anglo-Scandinavian art styles. This decoration incorporates the spiral-scroll school of artwork commonly found on free-armed crosses located on the Cumbrian coast. Thus the Addingham cross represents an isolated and eccentric response to an ornamental fashion which was popular on the Cumbrian coastal strip.


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


The monument includes the upper part of a decorated cross shaft and head of a late 10th/early 11th century Anglo-Scandinavian cross. It is constructed of red sandstone and is set in a sandstone base of a later date than the cross but nevertheless thought to be of pre-Conquest date. The cross shaft measures 45cm high, is rectangular in cross section, and tapers towards the top where its maximum dimensions are 30.5cm by 17.8cm. It is decorated on all sides with spiral-scroll and stopped-plait carvings. The cross head is of the ring-head or debased wheel-head type with lateral arms, and measures 51cm by 45.7cm. Its western face is decorated with a flat boss carrying an incised linear equal-armed cross; this is surrounded by a mixture of spiral-scroll and stopped-plait carving. The east face has an encircled boss surrounded by spiral-scroll and stopped-plait. Both the north and south ends of the cross head are incised with a St Andrew's cross. The cross originally stood in a churchyard on the banks of the River Eden where the original Addingham village was sited. In 1350 the river changed its course and washed away much of the village. Burials continued at the site of the original church for some time until floods once again swept away the new graves. Building of the present church of St Michael is thought to have commenced during the 12th or 13th centuries. The cross is first recorded at its present site in 1840.

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: 23770

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Bailey, R N, Cramp, R, Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture, (1988), 45-6
Burne, E A, Addingham Church and Parish, (1991), 1-2

End of official listing