Ancient Monuments

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Anglo Scandinavian high cross known as the Shall Cross

A Scheduled Monument in Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.3137 / 53°18'49"N

Longitude: -1.9769 / 1°58'36"W

OS Eastings: 401634.874503

OS Northings: 379639.096838

OS Grid: SK016796

Mapcode National: GBR GZM3.SV

Mapcode Global: WHBBC.LZT1

Entry Name: Anglo Scandinavian high cross known as the Shall Cross

Scheduled Date: 19 January 1967

Last Amended: 26 July 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008825

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23354

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Whaley Bridge

Built-Up Area: Whaley Bridge

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Whaley Bridge, Taxal St James

Church of England Diocese: Chester


The monument is a late ninth or tenth century high cross comprising a
gritstone cross shaft mortared onto a modern paving slab. Originally, the
shaft may have been set into a socle or socket stone but this is now missing
together with the cross head which would formerly have been mounted on the
shaft. The latter was replaced in the 18th or 19th century by a sundial set in
a dressed gritstone capital.
The lower part of the shaft is columnar while the upper part is of tapering
rectangular section. The division between the two is marked by a swag and a
collar consisting of two rings of roll moulding. The shaft is apparently
undecorated but, on the south side, there are several faint incised lines
which may be the remains of a very eroded scroll pattern though this is not
certain. At the very top of the shaft on the south side is a graffito
consisting of the initials HL above a box containing the date 1728. This
provides an earliest possible date for the sundial since it would have been
difficult, if not impossible, to inscribe the graffito with the sundial in
place. The sundial appears to have been taken from an existing feature rather
than purpose made since it does not fit the shaft either in style or scale.
The cross shaft has a number of damage points filled in with white plaster
which, together with the fact that the cross head is missing, suggest that the
cross may have been vandalised in the 16th or 17th centuries. The shaft is
c.1m high and has a maximum diameter of c.30cm. It is located inside a
purpose-built drywalled enclosure which defines the area of the scheduling.
The cobbled floor and walls of the enclosure are excluded from the scheduling
though the ground underneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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

The Shall Cross is a good example of a later high cross which displays
evidence of the stylistic changes brought to this class of monument by the
Viking settlement. It is one of a number of early medieval crosses on the
Derbyshire-Cheshire border and probably served as a wayside cross or as a
boundary marker.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bunting, W B, Chapel-en-le-Frith, (1940), 16-17
Andrew, W J, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Derbyshire Archaeological Journal, , Vol. 27, (1905), 201
Gunson, E, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in , , Vol. 27, (1905), 186
Routh, T E, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Derbyshire Archaeological Journal, , Vol. 58, (1937), 14,31

Source: Historic England

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