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Anglo-Saxon cross in St John the Baptist's churchyard

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: Anglo-Saxon cross in St John the Baptist's churchyard

List entry Number: 1019025

Location

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

County:

District: Darlington

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Low Dinsdale

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 24-Sep-1999

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 32059

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.

Though weathered, the 11th century cross shaft at St John the Baptist's churchyard represents an important example of the last phases of the Anglian tradition.

History

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

Details

The monument includes an 11th century Anglo-Saxon cross shaft in St John the Baptist's churchyard, Low Dinsdale. It is situated on a low earthwork bank which was formerly a churchyard boundary, 5m west of the church. The coarse sandstone shaft is rectangular in plan and tapers with its height. It is 0.4m wide by 0.25m deep at its base and 1.04m high and has decoration on all four sides. The broad west face has four ornamental panels divided by flat band mouldings. Three panels are of free rings linked horizontally by diagonal and surrounding strands and the bottom panel of the same motif but the strands twist and fall into a triangle with pendant loops. The narrow south face is of continuous irregular plait with opposing diagonals and free rings. The broad east face is indecipherable, though sources describe panels of grooved interlace and a compartment in the form of a shield containing a curious design with triquetra terminations. The narrow north face is of continuous four-strand plain plait. The north east corner has a 5cm wide band of continuous two strand plait. This type of shaft, with panels of plait on the broad face and continuous plait on the narrow, forms the last phases of the Anglian tradition and is dated to the third quarter of the 11th century. The cross, which is Listed Grade II*, is in its original position and stands in an area of undisturbed ground that will have preserved deposits beneath the present ground surface. St John the Baptist's Church was built of red sandstone c.1196. It was restored in 1875-6 and 1905. The longevity of worship at the site is indicated by the number of 10th and 11th century cross fragments and by the presence of an 11th century recumbent grave cover.

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

Books and journals
Cramp, R, Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture in England: Volume I, (1984), 63
Cramp, R, Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture in England: Volume I, (1984), 151

National Grid Reference: NZ 34669 11202

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 - 1019025 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 17-Dec-2017 at 04:28:44.

End of official listing