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Durham University

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Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture

A research project of the Department of Archaeology, part of the Visual and Material Culture Research Group and North East Research Group research groups.

Background

Funded by: The Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Headley Trust, part of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, and by the British Academy, with additional funding from the Pilgrim Trust. Funding from the AHRC will now enable the completion of the project in book and digital form and facilitate a series of workshops and a final project conference. The online release of volumes has been made possible by support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (1999-2004), The British Academy (ongoing), The Aurelius Trust (2013-14) and Durham University (2013). The full online release of our digital data has now been made possible by substantial funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Durham Research Team: Professor Rosemary Cramp, Professor Sarah Semple, Dr Derek Craig.

Aims and Outcomes

The Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture is an exceptional 40+ year project that has catalogued and visually recorded every fragment of early medieval stone sculpture – architectural, freestanding, relief – across England. A flagship British Academy project, CASSS is now nearing completion in producing published consistent information and high quality photograph data on over 10,000+ monuments from across more than 30 English counties. Under the guidance of Professor Dame Rosemary Cramp, supported by more than thirty researchers the project has, since 1977, coordinated the production of a series of bound, detailed and fully illustrated volumes that provide coverage of every early medieval sculpture and sculpture fragments. Much of this material was previously unpublished, and is of crucial importance in helping identify the earliest settlements and artistic achievements of the early medieval populations of England from the 7th to 11th centuries. The Corpus documents the earliest carved stone monuments produced after the end of Roman rule, from free-standing carved crosses and innovative decorative elements, to grave-markers. Thirteen volume have been published to date with Oxford University Press and these not only detail the sculptures and their designs, but also contextualise these finds in terms of local geology and production, the historical background for the region and the purpose use and deployment of both architectural, free standing and commemorative pieces.

In recent years, with the support of the AHRC, British Academy and the Aurelius Trust, the project has sought to release the data from all volumes online, as a searchable catalogue, accompanied by digital images which can be accessed at www.ascorpus.ac.uk

Worked in Stone

In 2018 the project won substantial funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to enable the completion of the project. Across 2018 to 2022 a team of six researchers and three post-doctoral researchers are completing full coverage of every early medieval sculpture in England, bringing to press all remaining published volumes. In addition, working with the Archaeological Data Service, we are preparing the complete online release of the full catalogues for every region so 10s of 1000s of catalogue entries and images are readily accessible as a free resource worldwide for academics and the public alike.

‘One of the great achievements of English scholarship in our time. 13 volumes now published, only three to go…, all under the personal vision and drive of Rosemary Cramp’ Martin Biddle, March 2018

Publications

There are currently thirteen published Corpus volumes, the very latest Derbyshire and Staffordshire published in 2018 and the very first (County Durham and Northumberland) published in 1984. Only three more remain to be completed.

  • Cramp, R.J. 1984. Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture Vol. I. County Durham an Northumberland. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Cramp, R.J. and Bailey, R. 1988. Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture Vol. II. Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North-of-the-Sands. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Lang, J. 1991. Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture Vol. III. York and Eastern Yorkshire. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Tweddle, D. 1995. Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture Vol. IV. South-East England. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Everson, P. and Stocker, D. 1999. Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture Vol. V. Lincolnshire. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Lang, J. 2002. Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture Vol. VI. Northern Yorkshire. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Cramp, R.J. 2006. Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture Vol. VII. South-West England. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Coatsworth, E. 2008. Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture Vol. VIII. Western Yorkshire. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Bailey, R. 2011. Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture Vol. IX. Cheshire and Lancashire. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Bryant, R. 2012. Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture Vol. X. Western Midlands. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Preston-Jones, A. and Okasha, E. 2015. Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture Vol. XI. Cornwall. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Everson, P. and Stocker, D. 2016. Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture Vol. XII. Nottinghamshire. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Hawkes, J. and Sidebottom, P. 2018. Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture Vol. XIII. Derbyshire and Staffordshire. Oxford: Oxford University Press.