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Decoding the Bakewell Crosses

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In and around Bakewell church, Derbyshire, there are 37 pieces of Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Scandinavian sculpture representing one of the biggest single collections of stonework from this period. Interpretation of the symbols and carvings depicted on the stone suggest that some of the pieces may date to the first half of the 10th century, a period when the nascent nation that would become England was emerging from the generations of conflict between the Saxon Kingdoms and the Scandinavian settlers of the Danelaw.

Despite the importance of this collection, they are currently poorly understood, and their true place in history is not known with any certainty. In order to better understand and interpret the sculpture, and in particular the two free-standing cross shafts, ARS Ltd have joined with the Parochial Church Council of Bakewell Church and Bakewell and District Historical Society to undertake a series of investigations funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

This exciting project has involved a detailed study of the sculpture through looking at text records and antiquarian illustrations, and also a detailed laser survey to capture all the remaining detail, in partnership with Birmingham University. This has also helped to assess the condition of the stones, which is especially important with the two cross shafts that are open to the elements.

If you want to know more about the sculpture at Bakewell Church, it can be visited free of charge where there are information boards about the history and archaeology of the church and its features.

Use the links below to find out more about the different aspects of the project:

Investigating the Sculpture Excavating around the High Cross Hassop Crossroads excavations