Survey guidelines – helping you to help us.
On this site you will find a list of known locations of Battlefield Crosses, this is fairly comprehensive but it is worth noting that there may be other crosses in storage in churches and halls across the country that are not listed here and we are aware of others but need to try and find out as certainly as possible that they are where we think they are. The list will be updated periodically so keep an eye out for updates.
It is always worth asking locally or checking a church if you are in the vicinity to see if there is anything there that is not listed. It is also always worth asking local community organisations, archives or councils to see if they have any knowledge of anything that may have been moved or stored.
You can email your surveys to us here.
Field survey PDF file
Field Survey Word file
Accessing a property:
Cathedrals, churches and chapels
Most of the returned battlefield crosses are found in churches and chapels. You will find that a few of these are open 24 hours a day, others will be open within set hours, some are locked and have a key holder or key holders that you can phone to gain access. There is no hard and fast rule, some remote churches will be locked and some won’t the same applies to those in urban areas.
It is always best to check, most of these public buildings, whether still consecrated or maintained by an organisation such as the Churches Conservation Trust or a local organisation will have a website that will give you an idea of whether they are accessible. Most will be but be prepared for a locked door now and again and the possibility of having to call someone when you are in the middle of nowhere with bad reception. Sometimes it pays t prepare by ringing before you leave it key holders are listed online.
Key holders are naturally curious about what you are doing and quite often are also a fount of knowledge on their building, so it’s worth asking what they know about the site, the memorials and the Battlefield Crosses as you may find out more from them about the family and how the cross relates to the community than you can find out from paper or digital records.
Some Cathedrals may charge for photographs, please be aware of this, this information is usually available online.
Memorial halls and community centres.
Some crosses are found in Memorial Halls and Community centres, these often tie into the story as Memorial Halls in particular were erected after the First World War as an act of remembrance and commemoration by a local community (not always First World War). These are comparatively rare though. Again it is worth checking if something has been missed in your local area.
Some museums have crosses in their collections, these are usually well researched and quite well known although this is not always the case. Be aware you may have to pay entry, but it’s a museum, and we all love a museum and they need our support so treat yourself and take some photos and maybe do a bit of reading while you’re there, everyone wins. Please check opening hours, smaller independent museums may not be open every day, most allow photography please check though and ask permission. In a few instances we have found that museums have markers in store so it is worth speaking to a curator or curatorial assistant, and also sometimes worth checking before you go to see if access can be gained.
Schools and Colleges
One thing initially we missed was the number of crosses held by schools and colleges. There are some notable examples including Albert Ball VC at Trent, and Rupert Brook and his brother at Rugby. If you work at a school, please check if you have anything and let us know. If you live near one we haven’t listed also let us know and if you fancy asking we’ve discovered that term time and weekdays are not necessarily the best moments to visit.
Private residences and private chapels.
There are a few of these memorials that are held in private hands on private property. These may be more difficult to access, but it is worth a phone call or an email to find out if you can get permission to survey the Cross, there is never any harm in asking. We have had some notable successes on this front already.
Do you have a marker?
We are always on the look out for private owners of crosses, most of these are the ones most likely to be overlooked and unrecorded, to date (July 2017) we have only found 3, these include one in a stately home and 2 in residences. It would be fantastic to find more as they obvious have a different connotation and relationship to ritualistic commemorative markers in places of worship. Please do get in touch. We don’t reveal exact locations of private markers on the map unless given explicit permission to do so.
Source: Private collection.
Recording and surveying.
Crosses can be found in all sorts of positions within a church, from leaning against a wall to mounted high up, sometimes singular, sometimes in groups. Some of these memorials are quite fragile having spent some time outside, in a few cases many years subject to the elements. They may be dry or have suffered from insect damage, have loose paint or nails, shrrinkage can make them fall apart if handled. Please therefore avoid touching them. Some are fixed or chained to walls, some have mounts, others are free standing. Please leave them as you find them.
You will need a pad and a pen or a mobile device with a note-taking app. A tape measure; a dressmakers tape or builders measure should be adequate. A camera or Camera equipped Smartphone. We have also found quite by chance that a pair of binoculars can be handy sometimes as some crosses and markers are well out of reach or positioned in such a way that accessing them is difficult. If you have a camera such as a DSLR with a Telephoto lens or a compact camera with a zoom these can be exceptionally handy to recording text you can’t actually read, or operate as a way of reading the text.
Most of these crosses have lettering on them, some of which is quite complex, some is straightforward, some carved or painted and most commonly stamped out of alloy GRU strips which are tacked on to the cross. We need to record all of the text content for each cross where visible. Please copy the text as it is, if it appears in capitals record it in capitals. Start at the top and work your way down. If the text is difficult to read due to paint chipping or wear just do your best with it. See the sample recorded sheet at the bottom of the page.
Please note the position within the building, you can couch this in your own terms as simply as you like ‘wall mounted on the rear of the chancel to the left’ or ‘leaning against the door frame near the kitchen door to the north of the room’ It’s just a way of making them easier to find for other people who may want to seek them out.
Ideally we would like to record the dimensions but appreciate that this may not always be possible due to the location. If it is accessible do so with due care, a builders tape measure or dress making measure will be ideal for this. Try and avoid touching the memorial. If you can, please measure in metric, ideally in Millimetres from tip to top and across the beam and the thickness of the wood. If the cross is Celtic style has a wheel plate or circular element please measure the diameter and the thickness and depth of the wheel if possible.
If there is evidence of the cross being inserted into the earth, either as rot or a colour change in the material or residual earth or shrinkage to the wood or carved tapering please also measure this. See the sample recorded sheet at the bottom of the page.
Please make a note of any detailing or finials on the crosses, this can be a simple description ‘carved scrolls to top and cross beam’ provided we have photos of each item this will do. Please note any mount and mounting material.
Finish and Condition
After your measurements add a description of the finish and condition of the cross, this helps us along with photographs to fix them at a point in time and work out whether it may have undergone any maintenance at any point. You may like to note: Painting, carving, chipping, any rot or cracks, whether it appears to have been over-painted or varnished, any insect holes, whether there is any loose or flaking materials on it. We have found a few which exhibit war damage too. Also Has any engraved lettering been infilled with paint. If you think it’s worth recording, note it down.
Important: Where a cross or marker is positioned out of reach or is high up or in an inaccessible position where you can’t easily access or record it then don’t do so; Please observe it from a safe place and record what details you can, indicate in a note that it is inaccessible and estimate measurement rather than putting yourself in harms way. Do not under any circumstances climb on furniture, fixtures or fittings. Do not use ladders, particularly those which you may find in properties. Please respect the property, building or environment and stay safe. Keep your eyes peeled and your feet on the ground!
The most important thing is not to be intimidated, these are guidelines, not rules, whatever you can tell us will help.
You may also like to help us research those commemorated on the crosses and their families and communities they come from to help complete the picture. A ‘how to’ will be available shortly to assist you.
The main thing is to enjoy the experience!
Take your time and look at the building too, most of the markers are in places of worship; these are fabulous repositories of history that often contain elements that date back to Norman times and occasionally before and often show the heavy tinkering of the Elizabethans, damage by the Puritans and the various forms of ‘renovation’ by the Victorians, These early memorials form part of a story that in some instances may stretch back to Roman and early Saxon times.
By sending us these details you are helping build a snapshot of where these objects exist at the centenary of the First World War.
We would like to record each cross photographically, ideally a few shots of each for records. The most important one is straight on looking at the whole cross in situ. This sometimes is not possible, due to location or pews pillars or lighting stands obstructing your view. In this event just get as straight on to it as you can manage. It’s more important that we have pictures than the pictures are perfect. We would also like a close up of any tags or text on the crosses too.
You may find that you will be shooting in low light. If you are try and make the best of what is available. You can use flash if conditions permit (some premises don’t like flash being used – please check). Sometimes it is best not too due to reflections. Many modern cameras have low light settings that allow for these situations by pushing up the camera’s sensor sensitivity (ISO) to get more light to the camera.
You can also try using a tripod and lowering your shutter speed and opening the aperture to allow more light in if you have a manual camera. Some cameras will have a low light setting. Beware though, all of these can cause problems with photos: High ISO tends to cause more noise on the image, A slow shutter speed can cause blur if you don’t brace the camera against your body or use a tripod, and a wide open aperture means you will have a shallow depth of field; things behind and in front of the object will be out of focus.
Feel free to be creative, this is not just about dry recordings of them, it’s about your responses to these objects too.
It is advisable to digitally watermark your images in camera or using an image editor such as Photoshop, Bridge, Lightroom, Gimp or any other photo editing software, This embeds your information in the photograph’s metadata, it is important as part of the record too, you are part of it. Some cameras offer this function within the meta settings. This embeds your copyright within the photograph’s metadata. You may also want to consider what type of copyright you wish to use and could use Creative Commons licensing instead. Please see the Terms and Conditions page for more information. This may vary from camera to camera, please refer to your owners manual if in doubt.
In terms of file size anything over 1200 pixels wide is fine, under that we may struggle.
Please name your images with the location if possible, Location_church-name_dsc0007.jpeg is good. It will make our job easier too as we try and put all the pieces together. This however is not essential as generally we will rename the files on receipt and also add you name to the metadata if it is missing.
Photo Credit: Hidden Commemoration
Please take care. Common-sense and self-awareness should used at all times. Make yourself aware of your surroundings. It is advisable where possible to ring or visit the owner, vicar or keyholder before visiting to obtain permission and check for any known problems.
Make a note of opening and closing times of any churches or buildings and inform either keyholder or someone responsible that you are in the church or building where possible. Some buildings although rare do have timer locks. It is vital that you risk assess the situation for your own benefit.
Do not attempt to access a property that is marked or appears unsafe or is marked private or locked.
Please make yourself aware of any danger signs such as falling masonry or trip or head hazards.
If a cross or marker is positioned out of reach or is high up or in an inaccessible position where you can’t easily access or record it then don’t do so; Please observe it from a safe place and record what details you can safely. Do not climb on furniture, fixtures or fittings. Do not use ladders, particularly those which you may find in properties.
Sample Survey data
Your survey sheet should look something like this, if you stick to this layout it makes the job of compiling the posts on each cross and adding the details to the database easier.
Survey courtesy of:
Photographs courtesy of:
Date of survey:
Location address (including county and postcode):
Details on cross (Text content of cross):
Text type (e.g. hand-written, GRU tags, carved):
Cross dimensions (millimetres please)
Cross beam width:
Width of wood:
Thickness or depth:
Circle plate (if celtic type)
Width of circle:
Square plate (if supported)
Width of Square arms:
Angle of arms:
Mounting to wall:
Evidence of use in field (earth marking, cracking, staining, shrinkage):
Surface insertion depth (into ground if apparent):
Finish (varnish, paint, oiled, unfinished etc):
Condition (cracked, paint peeling, woodwork, damage etc):
Notes and observations: (optional)
You can cut and paste this text straight into an email and fill it in if you would prefer.
Please email completed sheets and photos to email@example.com. Sheets can be emailed in word, text or RTF format. Photos as jpegs no smaller than 1200 pixels wide. Please try and compress jpegs to under 2.5mb. You can also use this sheet as a guide and type in and email direct from a smartphone, device, tablet or laptop.
Please fill out one sheet per cross. Feel free to continue on an extra sheet if necessary.