Anglo-Scandinavian cross, St Bartholomew's churchyard


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014512

Date first listed: 25-Feb-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Jul-1996


Ordnance survey map of Anglo-Scandinavian cross, St Bartholomew's churchyard
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Leicestershire

District: Melton (District Authority)

Parish: Sproxton

National Grid Reference: SK 85666 24904


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

Reasons for Designation

An Anglian cross is a free standing upright structure, usually of stone and frequently heavily decorated, erected in a variety of locations between the seventh and eleventh centuries AD. They are found throughout England, although they are particularly concentrated in the north and west. They appear to have served a variety of functions. Some are associated with established churches and monasteries and may mark burial places, focal points used in religious services, or the boundaries of ecclesiastical land holdings. Others may have marked routeways or other gathering points for local communities. Anglian crosses usually incorporate a shaft and a cross-head, although this is often missing. Sometimes they are set within a socket in a large stone base. The shafts and heads are often decorated with a rich variety of abstract ornament, the most common motifs being plant scrolls and interlace patterns, while figure carving is much rarer. The form taken by this ornament is varied both according to region and chronology. The earlier, pre-Viking examples were part of the great tradition of Anglo-Saxon decorative art, while later examples are heavily influenced by Viking styles and mythology and are related to the Viking infiltration and settlement of the north of England. Around 2000 examples of Anglian crosses have been identified and this is likely to represent only a small portion of those originally erected. Their survival has been affected by local conditions, attitudes, and religious sentiment. In particular, some were defaced or destroyed by iconclasts during the Reformation. Others were simply taken down and reused in new building works. Both as individual examples and when taken as a group they provide an important insight into changing art styles and contribute significantly to our understanding of pre-Conquest ecclesiastical and settlement history. The Viking period crosses, for example, contribute to studies of the impact of the Scandinavian newcomers in England. All well-preserved examples of Anglian crosses which survive as standing monuments will be identified as being nationally important and will merit protection.

The Anglo-Scandinavian cross at Sproxton survives well and is the only known Leicestershire example of an early medieval cross with a complete cross-head still attached to its shaft. The Scandinavian-influenced decoration on both the shaft and the head make an important contribution towards an understanding of the regional and chronological variations in the design of early medieval crosses. Situated close to the south porch of the church, the cross is thought to stand in its original position, indicating that archaeological deposits relating to its construction and use are likely to survive intact below the present ground surface. The cross has not been restored and has continued in use as a public monument and amenity from at least the 10th or 11th centuries to the present day.


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


The monument includes an Anglo-Scandinavian stone cross located within the churchyard of St Bartholomew's Church, Sproxton, approximately 7m to the south east of the south porch. The cross is probably 11th century in date and takes the form of a base, comprising a stone slab and a socket stone, and a shaft and cross-head which have been carved from a single block of stone. The socket stone stands on a stone slab which is now in two parts and mostly below ground level. The socket stone is rectangular in section at the base with moulded and chamfered corners rising to a top of rectangular section. Set into the socket stone is the shaft which is also of rectangular section, tapering upwards to a collar or band, above which the shaft continues to taper towards the head. The head itself is of ring head type with pierced interstices, and the ring itself is decorated with interlace. The western face of the shaft is divided into two ornamental panels by the collar; the lower is decorated with regular plaitwork and a zoomorphic beast, whilst the interlace decoration on the upper panel is now badly eroded. The lower and upper panels on the northern face carry ornamental patterns of interlocked circular rings and interlace respectively. The southern face has a continuous vine-scroll ornamentation. Any decoration on the eastern face of the shaft has been eroded away. The full height of the cross is 2.35m. The grave marker to the south east of the cross is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath 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: 21647

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Leicestershire and Rutland, (1960), 384
Stocker, D.A., (1995)

End of official listing