The cross stands on the site of an earlier monument, listed as ancient in 1857 and described by local poet Ann Perry as an old blackened wooden cross. The present cross dates from 1871 and was designed and carved by a local man Isaac Petts. There is a memorial to him in Crich church yard.
The cross consists of a tapering stone shaft on a square base set on three earlier steps. The wheel cross head has a foliage decoration to the west face and a carved figure to the east face. Most of the early directories, copying from each, other describes the figure as St Michael overcoming the dragon. It is hard to see evidence of a dragon.
The area surrounding the cross was the market place for Crich until the 1920s.
Photographs and postcards courtesy of: Beryl Calladine; private album (P.N.); Graham Swift; Sue Worboys; Peter Patilla.
Courtesy Aileen Taylor
photo courtesy Lorraine Stocks
Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal 7 July 1871
RESTORATION OF THE CROSS
For some years the Old Cross has been in a ruinous state, and was taken down three weeks ago to be re-erected by public subscription, after a new design. Nothing was found in the remains to gain any idea as to how many years it had been built. It is supposed to have been erected as a beacon to guide the weary travellers across the wilds in days of yore, when no other building or human habitation was to be seen around. The work was undertaken by Mr J PETTS, of Fritchley, and on Tuesday se’nnight he succeeded in completing the restoration. It has a square base, which is reached on either side by three steps. In the centre of this base, is a receptacle in which is placed a bottle, containing an article on the supposed age of the parish church, and a poem by J.W. LEE on the restoration. Coins of the realm of current silver and copper. On this a huge block of stone is placed, on which the massive column stands, nine feet six inches high. On the side of the column is a heart in bas-relief, with the words, “Restored 1871.” On the top of the column is a beautiful design of the cross on one side, and Michael the Archangel with his sword through the Dragons neck on the other. It stands 17 feet high from the ground, and is a splendid piece of workmanship, which reflects equal credit on the good taste of the architect out of the skill of Mr PETTS.