Volume 13: Derbyshire and Staffordshire

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Current Display: Ashbourne 1, Derbyshire Forward button Back button
Present Location
Inside the north chapel of the church
Evidence for Discovery
Browne (1886, 181-2) records that two fragments were present in the church in 1886; one had been recovered in 1885 and seems to have been that described here. The other (Ashbourne 2) was a fragment of interlace only and by 1937 when Routh published his corpus of the Anglo-Saxon sculpture in Derbyshire it was missing (Routh 1937a, 4 n.1; 1937b, 5 n.1).
Church Dedication
St Oswald
Present Condition
Fragmentary and worn, especially on A, where the side mouldings are badly chipped, but the decoration of B, C and D is clearly visible and in reasonably good condition

This is the upper part of a tapered, rectangular-sectioned, cross-shaft, with the fragmentary remains of the shoulder and possibly lower part of a cross-head separated from the shaft by mouldings on all four faces. There are flat-banded edge mouldings on all sides which appear to have been square although are now eroded. It is carved throughout in bold relief.

A (broad): Decorated with an irregular broad, four-stranded, interlace pattern. The strands are incised with medial lines giving the impression that each is composed of three bands. The pattern is incomplete at the bottom but is closed at the top.

B (narrow): This face has an irregular, two-stranded interlace pattern articulated in a style known as a ‘Stafford Knot’ (simple pattern E: Cramp 1991, xxxii). The strands are incised with medial lines which vary between the bends of the interlace so that they appear to form either two or three bands. The top of the pattern ends in one closed loop and one strand merging with the edge moulding on the right-hand side. The lower part is damaged and incomplete but retains a section containing three pellets which broadens towards the bottom and is marked by an incised line. This may have been part of the body of a zoomorph.

C (broad): Decorated with a zoomorph set within interlace patterns. The hind legs of the rampant animal can be seen to the left, the head apparently turned over the right shoulder. Its neck is long and slender and back-turned, but the detail of the head cannot be discerned. Part of a front leg can be seen on the right. A thin two-stranded plait emerges from the head of the animal and further strands lie below the body, between the hind and front legs. The wear at this point means the exact layout is difficult to decipher, but the thin strands of interlace appear to be attached to, or pass behind, a broader strand that turns on the right-hand side.

D (narrow): Decorated with an irregular, three-stranded interlace pattern, forming a closed loop at the bottom. At the top, the pattern is damaged but one strand may have joined with the upper moulding which is now missing. Overall, the pattern has poor geometry, making dimensions and form variable throughout. The strands are incised by a clear medial line rendering each strand composed of two bands. At the base is an area of relief forming radial lines fanning out from the base.


The decoration of this stone consists of motifs found elsewhere in the region. The so-called ‘Stafford Knot’ on B occurs throughout Derbyshire and Staffordshire, occasionally paired with its mirrored form. The two-, three- and four-stranded interlace is also well distributed throughout the region. However, the irregularity of the interlace on B, C and D is unusual, especially where care has been taken to embellish the strands with incised medial lines. The zoomorphic decoration on B likewise presents a variation on a common theme found elsewhere in the county and beyond. The animal form on C is badly worn, and while creatures with interlace are not uncommon in the county, most occur in the Trent Valley region and its tributaries, such as the lower Derwent and Dove valleys. Similar examples can be seen at Aston-on-Trent (1), and Breedon-on-the-Hill and Asfordby in Leicestershire (Fig. 37, p. 90).

Tenth century
Allen and Browne 1885, 356; Browne 1886, 181–2; Cox 1903a, 39; Allen 1905, 280; Le Blanc Smith 1905b, 105; Le Blanc Smith 1906, 229; Tudor 1927, 46; Tudor 1929, 59; Routh 1937a, 4–5, pl. I a–b; Routh 1937b, 5, pl. I a–b; Rice 1952, 123; Pevsner 1953, 43; Hollick 1961, 240; Whitaker 1974, 87; Pevsner and Williamson 1978, 61; Plunkett 1984, 248 n.13, 289; Craven and Stanley 1986, 27; Sidebottom 1994, 101, 103, 148, 219 (Ashbourne); Sharpe 2002, 58; Everson and Stocker 2015, 123

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