A high cross or standing cross is a free-standing Christian cross made of stone and often richly decorated. There was a unique Early Medieval tradition in Ireland and Britain of raising large sculpted stone crosses, usually outdoors. These probably developed from earlier traditions using wood, perhaps with metalwork attachments, and earlier pagan Celtic memorial stones; the Pictish stones of Scotland may also have influenced the form. The earliest surviving examples seem to come from the territory of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria,
Which had been converted to Christianity by Irish missionaries; it remains unclear whether the form first developed in Ireland or Britain. Their relief decoration is a mixture of religious figures and sections of decoration such as knotwork, interlace and in Britain vine-scrolls, all in the styles also found in Insular art in other media such as illuminated manuscripts and metalwork. They were probably normally painted, perhaps over a modelled layer of plaster; with the loss of paint and the effects of weathering the reliefs, in particular scenes crowded with small figures, are often now rather indistinct and hard to read.