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Anglian high cross fragment known as Walton Cross

A Scheduled Monument in Liversedge and Gomersal, Kirklees

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Latitude: 53.7103 / 53°42'36"N

Longitude: -1.7346 / 1°44'4"W

OS Eastings: 417613.674

OS Northings: 423791.934178

OS Grid: SE176237

Mapcode National: GBR JTBJ.8Q

Mapcode Global: WHC9W.B07G

Entry Name: Anglian high cross fragment known as Walton Cross

Scheduled Date: 23 March 1927

Last Amended: 16 May 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012873

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23375

County: Kirklees

Electoral Ward/Division: Liversedge and Gomersal

Built-Up Area: Liversedge

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Hartsheadst Peter

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes the remains of the Anglian high cross known as Walton
Cross and comprises the socle or socket stone of the cross set on a gritstone
slab. Originally, a stone shaft and cross head would have been set into the
socle. Part of the missing component is purported to have been found in a
nearby field in the early 1980s.
The socle consists of a crudely dressed but elaborately decorated gritstone
block. It averages c.1.06m high and tapers asymmetrically towards the top
which measures c.75cm by 55cm. In the top there is a rectangular socket hole
measuring c.40cm by 30cm by 15cm. The base of the socle measures c.1m by 80cm.
Neither the base nor the top are perfectly square.
The base of the socle has a battered skirt comprising four uneven lines of
roll-moulding. The bottom line is the thickest and, beneath this, the socle
tapers inwards towards the slab on which it stands. There is a band of three
lines of roll-moulding below the top edge of the socle and barley-twist
mouldings down each corner. Both roll- and flat band moulding are used to
frame decorative panels on each of the four faces.
On the north and south faces, the ornamentation takes the form of differing
styles of interlace with that on the south face forming a continuous pattern
while that on the north face is arranged in a series of vertical and
horizontal plaits. On the west face two zoomorphic forms sit at the bottom
corners of the panel supporting a disc containing knotwork and framed by
interlace trefoils of the type known as triquetrae. The disc is pierced
off-centre by a 5cm wide hole. The east face is the most richly decorated of
the four and includes a centre panel enclosed by a border of alternating bands
of plaiting and mixed roll- and barley-twist moulding. Within the panel is a
so-called `Tree of Life' comprising spiral branches emerging horizontally from
a central stem. Faint traces of two bird-forms can be seen on either side of
the tree while beneath it are two double scrolls.
The precise age of the cross is not known but the style of decoration displays
Scandinavian influence and so it is likely to be of late ninth or tenth
century date. Its precise function is also unclear though it may have marked
an ecclesiastical or territorial boundary. An alternative possibility is that
it is a cenotaph and marks an Anglo-Scandinavian grave within a larger
cemetery. The buried remains of this cemetery will survive around the cross
but are not included in the scheduling as their existence has not been
verified. In addition to being scheduled the cross is Grade II* Listed.
The surrounding wooden fence is excluded from the scheduling though the ground
underneath it 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

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

Walton Cross is an important example of an Anglian high cross still in its
original location. Its rough design and crude but extremely rich carvings are
of great art-historical importance and not only illustrate well the influence
of Scandinavian art-forms on this type of monument but also suggest secular
patronage. Although deteriorating, it is still in reasonably well-preserved
condition and is an important indicator of further surviving
Anglo-Scandinavian remains in this locality.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Collingwood, W G, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in Anglian and Anglo-Danish Sculpture, , Vol. 23, (1915), 250-253
Turner, J H, 'Old Yorkshire' in Walton Cross, (1883), 100-101
For British Museum, Hanna, Seamus, (1982)
In SMR, Faull, M L, (1982)
In SMR, Thornbarrow, P, (1986)
Shackleton Hill, Angela, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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