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Wayside and boundary cross known as Lady's Cross

A Scheduled Monument in Grindleford, Derbyshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.3004 / 53°18'1"N

Longitude: -1.5941 / 1°35'38"W

OS Eastings: 427146.958432

OS Northings: 378233.367508

OS Grid: SK271782

Mapcode National: GBR KZ98.PM

Mapcode Global: WHCCW.H93Q

Entry Name: Wayside and boundary cross known as Lady's Cross

Scheduled Date: 15 April 1935

Last Amended: 21 April 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008614

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23340

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Grindleford

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Dronfield St John Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Derby

Details

Lady's Cross is a medieval wayside and boundary cross which marks both an
ancient crossroads on Big Moor in the East Moors of the Peak District and the
former estate boundary of Beauchief Abbey. The monument includes the shaft
stump and base of the cross, the stone-getters' hollow in which the cross
stands and from which its stone was quarried and further sections of the cross
shaft which now lie embedded in the ground on the west side. Also included are
those stones next to the cross base which are either roughouts or fragments of
an earlier cross.
The base or socle of the present cross comprises a dressed gritstone block
measuring 65cm by 63cm with a visible height of 46cm. The top is inscribed on
the south side with the letters MB, on the east side with a small Greek cross
and, on the north side, with a Latin cross and figures which appear to read IR
1618. On the north face of the socle is a chiselled T-shaped symbol which may
represent a nail and have a Christian significance.
The stump of the undecorated gritstone cross shaft is square-sectioned with
chamfered corners and is set into a square socket. It is 65cm tall and
measures 27cm wide on each side. On the west side of the cross are four stone
blocks which, at an unknown period, have been placed end to end and are now
embedded in the ground. The two northernmost fit together perfectly. They are
of the same square-sectioned and chamfered appearance as the socketed shaft,
are of the same finely dressed stone and are weathered to the same degree.
This indicates that they are broken fragments of the same cross shaft. The
next stone does not fit in line and, though roughly dressed, does not have
chamfered corners. It is therefore interpreted either as a discarded roughout
for the present cross shaft or, alternatively, as part of an earlier cross
which may have stood on the same site. The fourth stone in the line does not
appear to be a cross fragment though it may, again, be a discarded roughout.
Lady's Cross is recorded as being in existence in 1263. It is prominently
situated on top of a rise and, when it stood to its full height, estimated at
some 2m, it would have been visible for miles around. It is associated with a
number of hollow ways which cross this part of the moor and are medieval and
post-medieval in date. In this way it is connected with another wayside cross
which marks a clapper bridge over the Barbrook, c.400m to the south east.

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.

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
pilgrimages.
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.

Lady's Cross is a reasonably well-preserved example of a finely dressed
wayside cross set in its original location at a crossroads on open moorland.
Associated with it is part of a possibly earlier cross shaft in addition to
the stone-getters' hollow from which the stone for the cross was quarried. It
lies outside the two main areas of distribution for wayside crosses and also
served as a boundary cross marking the edge of the Beauchief Abbey estate.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Cameron, K, The Place Names of Derbyshire, (1959), 265
Ward, G H B, 'Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society' in Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society, , Vol. 2, (1920), 139

Source: Historic England

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