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Cross in St Michael's churchyard, Addingham

A Scheduled Monument in Glassonby, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.7378 / 54°44'16"N

Longitude: -2.6626 / 2°39'45"W

OS Eastings: 357434.540254

OS Northings: 538292.495777

OS Grid: NY574382

Mapcode National: GBR 9FVN.CF

Mapcode Global: WH924.25CS

Entry Name: Cross in St Michael's churchyard, Addingham

Scheduled Date: 16 January 1968

Last Amended: 14 June 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012823

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23770

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Glassonby

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Addingham St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes the upper part of a decorated cross shaft and head of a
late 10th/early 11th century Anglo-Scandinavian cross. It is constructed of
red sandstone and is set in a sandstone base of a later date than the cross
but nevertheless thought to be of pre-Conquest date. The cross shaft measures
45cm high, is rectangular in cross section, and tapers towards the top where
its maximum dimensions are 30.5cm by 17.8cm. It is decorated on all sides with
spiral-scroll and stopped-plait carvings. The cross head is of the ring-head
or debased wheel-head type with lateral arms, and measures 51cm by 45.7cm. Its
western face is decorated with a flat boss carrying an incised linear
equal-armed cross; this is surrounded by a mixture of spiral-scroll and
stopped-plait carving. The east face has an encircled boss surrounded by
spiral-scroll and stopped-plait. Both the north and south ends of the cross
head are incised with a St Andrew's cross.
The cross originally stood in a churchyard on the banks of the River Eden
where the original Addingham village was sited. In 1350 the river changed its
course and washed away much of the village. Burials continued at the site of
the original church for some time until floods once again swept away the new
graves. Building of the present church of St Michael is thought to have
commenced during the 12th or 13th centuries. The cross is first recorded at
its present site in 1840.

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

Although only the cross head and a portion of the shaft remains and it is not
in its original location, the cross in St Michael's churchyard displays a good
example of 10th/11th century AD Anglo-Scandinavian art styles. This decoration
incorporates the spiral-scroll school of artwork commonly found on free-armed
crosses located on the Cumbrian coast. Thus the Addingham cross represents an
isolated and eccentric response to an ornamental fashion which was popular on
the Cumbrian coastal strip.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bailey, R N, Cramp, R, Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture, (1988), 45-6
Burne, E A, Addingham Church and Parish, (1991), 1-2

Source: Historic England

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