Above is an early Derbyshire stereograph of the beautiful
ancient cross in the churchyard at Bakewell. The stereo is
hand tinted. There is a paper label on the back, shown below,
but there is no blindstamp to indicate a publisher. As this
was No.31 in the photographer's series of pictures it must
be of early date, perhaps taken circa mid to late 1850's.
The angle the stereo was taken from shows us the scrolls on
two sides of the cross.
As the label shows, the cross was sometimes described as a Runic
but this is a misnomer as there are no runes on it.
Whilst it is not know when the damage to the top of the cross
occurred, the head had gone and the arms were damaged
before the end of eighteenth century. It was briefly
mentioned in The Gentleman's Magazine in 1892 and
Peter Davies wrote about the damage in 1811.
Richard Ward, in 1814, thought the cross remarkable but he
found the sculptured figures on the sides almost completely
effaced, noting that "there is another similar to this,
but superior in form and sculpture, in the church-yard at Eyam".
Ten years later Ebenezer Rhodes commented that although Bray,
who had toured the county in the 1770s,
had produced three etchings of the cross, he hadn't "regarded
either its origin or history of sufficient consequence to
engage his attention".
There were several early engravings or etchings of Bakewell's
cross that pre-date the stereograph, including those drawn
by Bray in 1778, the ones published
by the Lysons in 1817 and
the engraving by Jewitt in Glover's "Derbyshire" of
1833 (see below). Glover described the cross
as being eight feet high (exclusive of the pedestal) and two
feet wide. "The ornaments and
sculptured devices on the four sides are much worn and defaced,
but they are evidently subjects taken from the scriptures.
On one side of the cross are the birth, crucifixion, the entombment,
the resurrection and ascension; on the reverse is Christ entering
Jerusalem upon an ass. These figures are indistinct, and antiquarians
have differed in their interpretation of them".
Jewitt's engraving (1833) is of the "back" of the
cross, facing the church wall.
The nineteenth century church historian
Charles Cox compared the Bakewell cross with those at Eyam,
Hope and Taddington and mentions another of early design
at Blackwell, with fragments of similar design found at Bradbourne,
Hognaston and Darley. The Lysons had thought the cross was
Saxon in style and Cox also believed all the Derbyshire crosses,
with the exception of the one at Taddington which is earlier,
were Anglo-Saxon with the Bakewell Cross probably dating
from the eighth century and the Eyam cross possibly a century
The cross stands outside the east end of the Vernon Chapel
and railings surround it today, which were not present
when the stereograph was taken.
Several nineteenth century writers stated the cross was moved
to the churchyard but none indicate where it came from originally.
They also only talk of one cross at Bakewell. There is
second cross in the Bakewell church yard today which was presumably
moved to the churchyard in the twentieth century.
Bailey's drawing for Cox (1877) shows us the same faces of the
cross as those pictured in the stereogram and includes "Christ
entering Jerusalem upon an ass" noted by Glover.