Ancient Monuments

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Anglian cross 25m south of St Peter's Collegiate Church

A Scheduled Monument in St Peter's, Wolverhampton

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.5866 / 52°35'11"N

Longitude: -2.1281 / 2°7'41"W

OS Eastings: 391419.377517

OS Northings: 298764.674767

OS Grid: SO914987

Mapcode National: GBR 1DK.94

Mapcode Global: WHBFZ.87WW

Entry Name: Anglian cross 25m south of St Peter's Collegiate Church

Scheduled Date: 14 January 1958

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005886

English Heritage Legacy ID: WM 42

County: Wolverhampton

Electoral Ward/Division: St Peter's

Built-Up Area: Wolverhampton

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Midlands

Church of England Parish: Central Wolverhampton

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield

Details

The monument includes an Anglian cross, situated in St Peter's Close in the heart of the current settlement of Wolverhampton. The cross survives as a tall, tapering and highly decorated circular-section column or shaft set on a circular stone base and topped with a capital with a socket but no head. The cross shaft stands to a height of approximately 4.2m and is decorated with seven separate bands of ornament which include from top to bottom: vine scroll; vine scroll containing animals; cable; vine scroll; acanthus; a lattice containing animals and finally triangular panels containing animals. This unusual decoration was regarded by Kendrick as unique and the only surviving example in England which demonstrated the southern continental Baroque style. It is to the south of the collegiate church which was established in 966 AD and excavations in 1949 indicated the contemporary Anglo-Saxon cross occupied its original position having been set on a circular stepped base which is approximately 2.4m in diameter. The excavation found at some point the cross had been propped up with rubble to prevent its subsidence. The cross is surrounded by a metal railing fence.

Sources: PastScape 118820

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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 iconoclasts 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 important. Despite weathering the Anglian cross 25m south of St Peter's Collegiate Church survives comparatively well and retains much of its ornate decoration which is extremely unusual and of a rare type. The Anglo-Saxon cross is still in its original ecclesiastical context and, despite partial excavation, will retain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its erection, significance and maintenance at this site.

Source: Historic England

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