Ancient Monuments

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Standing cross in the churchyard of St Michael and All Angels

A Scheduled Monument in Taddington, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.237 / 53°14'13"N

Longitude: -1.7895 / 1°47'22"W

OS Eastings: 414145.435855

OS Northings: 371126.407793

OS Grid: SK141711

Mapcode National: GBR 463.4CC

Mapcode Global: WHCCZ.HW2T

Entry Name: Standing cross in the churchyard of St Michael and All Angels

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1970

Last Amended: 10 November 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009051

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23350

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Taddington

Built-Up Area: Taddington

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Taddington St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument is the shaft and socket stone or socle of a probable 11th century
standing cross located south of the church of St Michael and All Angels. The
socle is a low rectangular sandstone block measuring 60cm x 64cm x c.20cm
high. The shaft is also sandstone and stands 182cm high. Originally it would
have been surmounted by a cross-head but this is now missing. The shaft is of
roughly square section with chamfered angles. Approximately 13cm from the top
it begins to splay out, increasing from 24cm square to 30cm square. The
corners of the upper face are also chamfered. All four sides of the shaft are
decorated. Climbing foliage figures on the west and east faces, incised
chevrons on the south face and lozenges broken by horizontal ribs on the north
face. This style of ornamentation suggests the cross is of Norman origin and
there is some speculation that it marks the site of a Saxon church, though
this has not been confirmed. Deep grooves worn in the north west and south
west angles of the shaft have been interpreted as places where sickles have
been sharpened in the past and this is entirely plausible. A number of graves
that lie within the area of the scheduling are excluded from the scheduling
although the ground beneath is included.

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

A standing cross is a free standing upright structure, usually of stone,
mostly erected during the medieval period (mid 10th to mid 16th centuries AD).
Standing crosses served a variety of functions. In churchyards they served as
stations for outdoor processions, particularly in the observance of Palm
Sunday. Elsewhere, standing crosses were used within settlements as places for
preaching, public proclamation and penance, as well as defining rights of
sanctuary. Standing crosses were also employed to mark boundaries between
parishes, property, or settlements. A few crosses were erected to commemorate
battles. Some crosses were linked to particular saints, whose support and
protection their presence would have helped to invoke. Crosses in market
places may have helped to validate transactions. After the Reformation, some
crosses continued in use as foci for municipal or borough ceremonies, for
example as places for official proclamations and announcements; some were the
scenes of games or recreational activity.
Standing crosses were distributed throughout England and are thought to have
numbered in excess of 12,000. However, their survival since the Reformation
has been variable, being much affected by local conditions, attitudes and
religious sentiment. In particular, many cross-heads were destroyed by
iconoclasts during the 16th and 17th centuries. Less than 2,000 medieval
standing crosses, with or without cross-heads, are now thought to exist. The
oldest and most basic form of standing cross is the monolith, a stone shaft
often set directly in the ground without a base. The most common form is the
stepped cross, in which the shaft is set in a socket stone and raised upon a
flight of steps; this type of cross remained current from the 11th to 12th
centuries until after the Reformation. Where the cross-head survives it may
take a variety of forms, from a lantern-like structure to a crucifix; the more
elaborate examples date from the 15th century. Much less common than stepped
crosses are spire-shaped crosses, often composed of three or four receding
stages with elaborate architectural decoration and/or sculptured figures; the
most famous of these include the Eleanor crosses, erected by Edward I at the
stopping places of the funeral cortege of his wife, who died in 1290. Also
uncommon are the preaching crosses which were built in public places from the
13th century, typically in the cemeteries of religious communities and
cathedrals, market places and wide thoroughfares; they include a stepped base,
buttresses supporting a vaulted canopy, in turn carrying either a shaft and
head or a pinnacled spire. Standing crosses contribute significantly to our
understanding of medieval customs, both secular and religious, and to our
knowledge of medieval parishes and settlement patterns. All crosses which
survive as standing monuments, especially those which stand in or near their
original location, are considered worthy of protection.

The cross in St Michael's churchyard is an unusual and reasonably well
preserved example of an early standing cross.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Derbyshire, (1953), 231
Wordingham, J.N., Some Notes on Taddington church for the guidance of visitors, 1993,

Source: Historic England

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