Ancient Monuments

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Anglian high cross in the churchyard of All Saints' Church

A Scheduled Monument in Bradbourne, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.0714 / 53°4'16"N

Longitude: -1.6908 / 1°41'27"W

OS Eastings: 420809.856123

OS Northings: 352725.693278

OS Grid: SK208527

Mapcode National: GBR 485.KB6

Mapcode Global: WHCF0.0237

Entry Name: Anglian high cross in the churchyard of All Saints' Church

Scheduled Date: 23 May 1962

Last Amended: 8 August 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008823

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23352

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Bradbourne

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Bradbourne All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument is a restored Anglian high cross located in the churchyard on the
south side of All Saints' church. It comprises a massive gritstone cross shaft
mortared into a modern gritstone socle or socket stone. Originally a cross
head would have surmounted the shaft. This was not restored to the monument
but was retained within the church.

The shaft is of rectangular section and has massive flat-band mouldings along
its angles. These mouldings frame panels containing a variety of carved
ornamentation which includes both figural and floral elements. On the south
face most of the decoration is too faint to decipher but, at the bottom, there
is a panel containing a crucifixion scene. This consists of the cross with
Christ in relief flanked on either side by standing figures, one of whom
carries a spear and probably represents the Roman soldier who, in the biblical
account of the crucifixion, speared Christ in the side. Discs above the arms
of the cross may represent the sun and the moon. The west face is decorated
with plant scrolls and leaves and includes, at the very bottom, an arched
feature which is reminiscent of the drawn bow and arrow on the Anglian cross
in All Saints' churchyard, Bakewell. The Bradbourne example is damaged,
however, and it is difficult to say whether it represents a similar hunting
motif. The north face includes four panels framed by narrow mouldings, each of
which contains a figural carving. The upper three all contain pairs of figures
but are too faint to identify. The bottom panel possibly contains an angel as
there is a suggestion of wings over the shoulders. The east face contains
floral decoration of an unusual form consisting of a central rib, representing
a trunk or stem, with scrolls branching off it to the sides. The shaft is
pieced together from at least three sections and, on the upper section which
appears to have been split transversely, the plant stem is missing though the
scrolls are still in evidence. The whole shaft tapers very slightly towards
the top and measures c.2.5m high by 51cm east-west by 36cm north-south. The
modern socle measures 50cm by 45cm.

A number of modern graves fall within the area of the scheduling and, together
with the surface of the churchyard path which flanks the cross to the west,
are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included.

The cross is also Listed Grade II.

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

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

This cross in All Saints' churchyard is a good example of an early high cross
dating to the eighth or nineth century. Although it is incompletely restored
and damaged both by weathering and past human action, it nevertheless
illustrates well the forms of ornament typical of the Anglian period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Derby: Volume I, (1905), 281
'Archaeologia' in Archaeologia , , Vol. 12, (1796), 6
Green, M J, 'BAR Series 24' in The Religion of Civilian Roman Britain, (1976)
Routh, T E, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Derbyshire Archaeological Journal, , Vol. 58, (1937), 19-23
Derbyshire Archaeological Journal, (1947)

Source: Historic England

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