There is precious little evidence that Milton Abbas was occupied in Anglo-Saxon times, but this is one fragment that is definitely of this period. It was in the Abbey with the other stone fragments. I’m not sure where it is now, with the various moves during the refurbishments going on – I”ll look for it.
It seems rather narrow to be part of the shaft of the market cross.
The following is from Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture South West England, Rosemary Cramp, British Academy, 2006
Part of rounded shaft
PRESENT LOCATION In the abbey church, displayed in a metal frame at west end of south transept when visited in 1992, but not there in 2004
EVIDENCE FOR DISCOVERY None; possibly found during excavations at the west end of the church in 1865 (Roberts 1880, 88-9; (——) 1903, Ixv)
- 54 cm (21.25 in) W. 16 > 15 cm (6.5 > 6 in) D. 13cm (5 in)
STONE TYPE Yellowish grey (5Y 8/1), dominantly medium-grained, shelly, matrix-supported oolite, with the ooliths weathering out to give an ‘aero-chocolate’ texture; a few stand proud. Shell fragments up to 5 mm across, but no obvious alignment. Bath stone, Chalfield Oolite Formation, Great Oolite Group, Middle Jurassic PRESENT CONDITION Dressed off flat on three sides and broken at each end
DESCRIPTION Part of a rounded shaft with loose median-incised interlace.
DISCUSSION This was originally a rounded shaft like Yetminster (Ills. 153-7). The interlace type does not conform to any geometric type, but this is common in this region: the particularly tangled form here may be compared with Whitcombe (111. 142).
This is an important site with a large land-holding (Hall 2000, fig. 74). Milton Abbey was traditionally founded by King Athelstan (925-40), and was certainly a religious site by 964: see Anglo-Saxon Chronicle MS A, that tells of substitution of monks for priests (Whitelock 1979, 226).
DATE Tenth century(?)
REFERENCES R.C.H.M.(E.) 1970d, xlviii, pi. 12; R.CH.M.(E.) 1970e, 189 (5); Newman and Pevsner 1972, 288