Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross west of Fox Lane

A Scheduled Monument in Holmesfield, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.274 / 53°16'26"N

Longitude: -1.5584 / 1°33'30"W

OS Eastings: 429544.781245

OS Northings: 375310.792645

OS Grid: SK295753

Mapcode National: GBR KZKL.D2

Mapcode Global: WHCCX.1Y5Z

Entry Name: Wayside cross west of Fox Lane

Scheduled Date: 17 December 1925

Last Amended: 21 April 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008613

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23339

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Holmesfield

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Dronfield St John Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument is the northernmost example of two medieval wayside crosses
located on either side of Fox Lane approximately 450m apart. It comprises a
chiselled gritstone shaft set into a roughly triangular socle or cross base
measuring 118cm by 110cm by 94cm by 20cm high. The rectangular-sectioned shaft
measures 175cm high by a maximum of 35cm north-south by 23cm east-west and
includes the remains of an integral cross head which currently consists of the
top section and the stumps of both arms beneath which the shaft is at its
widest. The cross is prominently situated on the top of a natural knoll and is
associated with a number of hollow ways which represent an ancient route
across Ramsley Moor in the East Moors of the Peak District. Fox Lane is the
modern successor of this ancient route.

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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross erected during the
medieval period, mostly from the 9th to 15th centuries AD. In addition to
serving the function of reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith
amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, wayside
crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in difficult and
otherwise unmarked terrain. The crosses might be on regularly used routes
linking ordinary settlements or on routes having a more specifically religious
function, including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners
and funeral processions, or marking long-distance routes frequented on
Over 350 wayside crosses are known nationally, concentrated in south-west
England throughout Cornwall and on Dartmoor where they form the commonest type
of stone cross. A small group also occurs on the North York Moors. Relatively
few examples have been recorded elsewhere and these are generally confined to
remote moorland locations.
Outside Cornwall almost all wayside crosses take the form of a 'latin' cross,
in which the cross-head itself is shaped with the projecting arms of an
unenclosed cross. In Cornwall wayside crosses vary considerably in form and
decoration. The commonest type includes a round, or 'wheel', head on the faces
of which various forms of cross or related designs were carved in relief or
incised, the spaces between the cross arms possibly pierced. The design was
sometimes supplemented with a relief figure of Christ and the shaft might bear
decorative panels and motifs. Less common forms in Cornwall include the
'Latin' cross and, much rarer, the simple slab with a low relief cross on both
faces. Rare examples of wheel-head and slab-form crosses also occur within the
North York Moors group. Most wayside crosses have either a simple socketed
base or show no evidence for a separate base at all.
Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval
religious customs and sculptural traditions and to our knowledge of medieval
routeways and settlement patterns. All wayside crosses which survive as earth-
fast monuments, except those which are extremely damaged and removed from
their original locations, are considered worthy of protection.

The cross west of Fox Lane is a well-preserved example of a simple wayside
cross set in its original location on a route across open moorland. It is
unusual in that it includes an integral shaft and cross head but is generally
similar in appearance to its partner on the opposite side of Fox Lane. It also
lies outside the two main areas of distribution for wayside crosses.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Heathcote, J P, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in , , Vol. 81, (1961), 137
Ward, G H B, 'Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society' in Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society, , Vol. 2, (1920), 138-139

Source: Historic England

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