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British Archaeological Association.
SOME PRE-NORMAN CROSSES IN DERBYSHIRE.
BY CHARLES LYNAM, ESQ., F.S.A., HON. TREASURER.
(Read at the Buxton Congress, 1899.) CCORDING to the text of our programme,
my Paper is to be on the “ Pre-Norman Crosses of Bakewell, Eyam, and Hope.” The two former this Congress has already visited, and the last we are to see on Friday next. To deal only with these
three examples of this class of early memorials would be, as it were, to pick out a single syllable of a long word, and to attempt to explain the meaning of such word by a disjointed syllable; but loyal to the assigned text one is bound to be, in the first instance at all events, but finally craving indulgence to be allowed to widen out the theme, so as to include the relative positions of these three chosen examples, towards the vast field of which they undoubtedly form a part. The crosses of Bakewell, Eyam, and Hope have been dwelt upon at large by long-practised “observers, by masters in the study of ancient MSS., and by learned historians of ecclesiological detail. Authors, therefore, are too numerous to be given ; but it would be remiss to omit mention of the names of Dr. G. F. Browne, Bishop
of Bristol, formerly Professor of Archæology at Cambridge; Dr. Cox, the careful and painstaking historian of the churches of Derbyshire; and Mr. Romilly Allen, who has devoted much labour and research in the development of knowledge on this particular class of subject. For myself, it is perhaps only fair to you to be told that from my boyhood the subject bas attracted
sincere interest; and amongst my sketches, dated 1847, may still be found my first attempt to delineate with the point of a pencil the intricate interlacing of patterns on one of the early carved stones in the churchyard of Kirk-Braddon, in the Isle of Man.
In the year 1877, this Association published in their Journal, with illustrations, an attempt'I made to classify the various types of these structures, then and now to be seen in the churchyards and elsewhere in the county of Stafford. Since that time, no opportunity has escaped me of giving attention to this class of early work.
BAKEWELL CROSS. This cross is now fixed just to the east of the south transept of the church, a position which it would be bardly likely to have occupied unless erected there, either before the existence of the church itself, or afterwards at a time when there was an indifference as to its situation and its value as a treasure of antiquity. It is commonly said to have been brought from elsewhere, but no precise place is assigned for its former whereabouts. At present, at all events, it is within the enclosure of the churchyard of the parish church. This is of some significance in relation to its original purpose. Assuming it to have been a sepulchral monument, either of some unknown individual or family, or of the numerous dead who lie around it, otberwise without memorial beyond the little grassy mounds which mark their grave space, its position will be accepted as perfectly appropriate; contrasting in this respect with the rude unhewn stones marked with a simple cross or short inscription, to be seen on the wild moors of this country, of Ireland and elsewhere, and more strikingly still with the place of other sculptured
crosses, such as those now in the market-place at Sandbach, in Cheshire.
This Bakewell Cross is erected on an irregular, strangelooking, unsymmetrical base, shaped here and there, but on the whole having the appearance only of a large mass of unhewn rock, not inappropriate to the present mystery which envelopes the origin, the purpose, the period and the workmanship of this extraordinary work of art. Does a smile steal over the countenance of some at the suggestion that this weatherworn, unshapely stone offers to any eye evidence of the work of an artist? If we have learnt to read it-Yes : not only art, but also an earnest, innocent devotion of spirit, which does not often show itself even in the finest works of carving or sculpture of to-day.
The shaft, as we see it, is but a mutilated portion of its original proportions. It was longer at its base and higher in the head ; indeed, its actual head is missing. The present projection at the top is but a shoulder to the actual cross which surmounted it. In this respect it follows the example of the cross at Carew, in Pembrokeshire; and the Bishop of Bristol has suggested that one of the fragments of a cross, now in the church, completed this portion of the cross itself.
On the point of design, take, first of all, the general outline, which is pyramidal in form, capped by projections on the tapered sides, forming a break for the base of the actual cross which surmounted the shaft. This is equal almost to a classical treatment of the general conception of such a monument.
Then mark the method of dealing with the angles of the general form. They are rounded off, and are accompanied by a hollow on each side, producing a bold effect of light and shade, such as the early Gothic designers delighted in. Next, study the general decorative effect of the ornamentation which covers almost every inch of the whole surface of the shaft. Mark the grace and force, and variety of form in the scroll-work, and in its floral terminations. Also, the variety in the proportion of the parts according to the dimensions and shapes of the spaces they have to fill. Will anyone venture to say there is