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The Andrews Pages Picture Gallery : Derbyshire
A selection of photographs, prints and postcards. Some have personal or family connections
Bakewell Parish Church - the Ancient Stone Cross
Stereograph of the beautiful ancient cross

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[1]. The angle the stereo was taken from shows us the scrolls on two sides of the cross.

On the back
As the label shows, the cross was sometimes described as a Runic Cross
but this is a misnomer as there are no runes on it[2].

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[3] and Peter Davies wrote about the damage in 1811[4]. 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"[5]. Ten years later Ebenezer Rhodes commented that although Bray, who had toured the county in the 1770s[6], had produced three etchings of the cross, he hadn't "regarded either its origin or history of sufficient consequence to engage his attention"[7].

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[8] 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"[9].

Engraving by O. Jewitt of the Saxon Cross in Bakewell church yard
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[2]. 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 later.

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 of Bakewell's Saxon Cross
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[9].

1. Stereograph of the "Runic Cross, Bakewell" provided by and © George Pek
2. O. Jewitt's engraving from Glover's "Derbyshire" provided by and © Ann Andrews
3. Bakewell Cross, drawn by Mr. Bailey, fac-similed by Messrs. Bemrose's Anastatic process for Cox's "Churches" provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] Estimated date, but image compared with others in the owner's collection.

[2] Cox, J Charles (1877) "Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire, Vol II, The Hundreds of High Peak and Wirksworth", Chesterfield: Palmer and Edmunds, London: Bemrose and Sons, 10 Paternoster Buildings; and Derby. Cox did not like the cross being described as Runic and quite firmly pointed out that the cross could not be "runic" as a rune is a letter of the alphabet and runic means marked with runes (i.e. poetry, etc.).

[3] Read the Bakewell entry in the on site transcripts of The Gentleman's Magazine.

[4] Davies, David Peter (1811) "History of Derbyshire" pub. S. Mason, Belper. Davies seemed to think that the cross was about tenth century ("almost eight hundred years old"). There is more about the cross in the on site transcripts of Derbyshire's Parishes, 1811, (see Bakewell).

[5] Ward, Reverend Richard (1814) "The Matlock, Buxton and Castleton Guide, containing concise accounts of these and other remarkable places ... in the ... County of Derby", Derby

[6] Bray, William (1778) "Sketch of a Tour into Derbyshire and Yorkshire". A second edition was published in 1783.

[7] Rhodes, Ebenezer (1824) "Peak Scenery" pub. London, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, Paternoster Row.

[8] Lysons, Rev Daniel and Samuel Lysons Esq. (1817) "Topographical and Historical Account of Derbyshire" London: Printed for T. Cadell, Strand; and G. and A. Greenland, Poultry.

[9] Glover, Stephen (1833) "The History and Gazetteer of the County of Derby ..." Edited by T. Noble. pub. Derby and London.

Elsewhere on the Internet:
Rosemary Lockie provides a recent photograph on Wishful Thinking
Decoding the Bakewell Crosses - a joint project to understand and interpret the sculpture
The Megalithic Portal

Derbyshire Pictures Index
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Our Genealogy
Images of
Matlock & Matlock Bath

Other pages within the website with Orlando Jewitt engravings

Alfreton St. Martin

Bakewell Parish Church - Monuments inside All Saints'

Royal Museum,
Matlock Bath