Repton is a large village lying on the south bank of the river Trent, about 6 miles from Derby. In 2001, it numbered 1,658 households with a total population of 4,635.
There are two particular details about this village which make it's name known much more widely than would be expected for a settlement of this size. One is that it is the setting of a notable independant boarding school, but by far the more interesting fact is that it was the historic capital of the Saxon Kingdom of Mercia, a significant area which stretched between the rivers Mersey and Humber in the north, to Severn and Thames in the south, running the length of the modern Welsh border (it was King Offa of Mercia who built the famous Dyke) in the West, but excluding the hump of modern East Anglia and Essex to the East.
Between the 7th and 9th centuries, Hrewpandum (Repton) was a principle residence of the royal family of Mercia. It was during this time that Christianity came to the Midlands, brought by monks from Lindisfarne who came when Elfleda, daughter to the King of Northumbria, married Paeda, son of King Penda of Mercia.
Repton Cross was the site where they first preached. The date attached to this occurance is 653AD, just 56 years after Augustine first arrived in England, sent by Pope Gregory I to introduce Christianity to Britain.
Still a significant landmark in the village, the cross was once the centre and site for the regular markets and fairs which took place until the end of the 19th century, and on 2nd September 1952, it was designated a grade I listed monument. Restored in the 17th and 19th centuries, the Cross is made of sandstone, with a flight of eight steps leading up to an octagonal base, topped by a circular shaft and ball finial. The reference to it as a cross, refers to the meeting of the four roads, rather than the nature of the monument itself.
This is how the Cross looked in 1890, dominating the central area of the village.