Sandbach Crosses
The Sandbach Crosses are two 9th-century Anglo-Saxon stone crosses now erected in the market place in the town of Sandbach, Cheshire, England. They are unusually large and elaborate examples of the type and have been designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building, and a scheduled monument. The most recent and authoritative dating places the larger cross from the early part of the 9th century, and the smaller from about the middle of that century. Older theories, now outdated, included the view that they were erected to commemorate the conversion to Christianity of Peada of Mercia about 653. Other sources date them to the 9th century. The original site of the crosses is unknown and it is believed that they were brought to Sandbach in the Middle Ages. The earliest documentary evidence is by William Smith, the Rouge-Dragon Pursuivant at Arms of Elizabeth I, who was from Nantwich. In 1585 he wrote 'two square crosses of stone, on steps, with certain images and writings thereon graven hard together. Either after the Reformation or during the Civil War they were thrown down and their parts were scattered over a wide area. Larger pieces of the crosses were found as far away as Oulton and Tarporley while smaller pieces were found on various sites in Sandbach. In the early 19th century they were collected together and in 1816 were reassembled and erected under the direction of George Ormerod, the Cheshire historian. The crosses now consist of two upright columns set in sockets on a base of three stepped stones. The northern cross is the taller and has a mutilated head. The southern cross is truncated and has a mutilated head from a different cross. The crosses have always been a pair and were carved by the same hand. They depict religious scenes, doll-like heads and beasts in panels, together with vine-scrolls, course interlace patterns and some dragons.