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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 349
Date assigned Saturday, July 2, 1994
Date last amended


REASON FOR DESIGNATION A standing cross is a free standing upright structure, usually of stone, mostly erected during the medieval period (mid 10th to mid 16th centuries AD). Standing crosses served a variety of functions. In churchyards they served as stations for outdoor processions, particularly in the observance of Palm Sunday. Elsewhere, standing crosses were used within settlements as places for preaching, public proclamation and penance, as well as defining rights of sanctuary. Standing crosses were also employed to mark boundaries between parishes, property, or settlements. A few crosses were erected to commemorate battles. Some crosses were linked to particular saints, whose support and protection their presence would have helped to invoke. Crosses in market places may have helped to validate transactions. After the Reformation, some crosses continued in use as foci for municipal or borough ceremonies, for example as places for official proclamations and announcements; some were the scenes of games or recreational activity. Standing crosses were distributed throughout England and are thought to have numbered in excess of 12,000. However, their survival since the Reformation has been variable, being much affected by local conditions, attitudes and religious sentiment. In particular, many cross-heads were destroyed by iconoclasts during the 16th and 17th centuries. Less than 2,000 medieval standing crosses, with or without cross-heads, are now thought to exist. The oldest and most basic form of standing cross is the monolith, a stone shaft often set directly in the ground without a base. The most common form is the stepped cross, in which the shaft is set in a socket stone and raised upon a flight of steps; this type of cross remained current from the 11th to 12th centuries until after the Reformation. Where the cross-head survives it may take a variety of forms, from a lantern-like structure to a crucifix; the more elaborate examples date from the 15th century. Much less common than stepped crosses are spire-shaped crosses, often composed of three or four receding stages with elaborate architectural decoration and/or sculptured figures; the most famous of these include the Eleanor crosses, erected by Edward I at the stopping places of the funeral cortege of his wife, who died in 1290. Also uncommon are the preaching crosses which were built in public places from the 13th century, typically in the cemeteries of religious communities and cathedrals, market places and wide thoroughfares; they include a stepped base, buttresses supporting a vaulted canopy, in turn carrying either a shaft and head or a pinnacled spire. Standing crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval customs, both secular and religious, and to our knowledge of medieval parishes and settlement patterns. All crosses which survive as standing monuments, especially those which stand in or near their original location, are considered worthy of protection. Although the shaft and head are missing from the standing cross in All Saints' churchyard, the monument is reasonably well-preserved and is important for being in its original location. DETAILS The monument is the remains of a medieval standing cross located in the churchyard immediately south of All Saints' Church. It is constructed of sandstone and comprises three circular steps and the original pedestal of a medieval cross shaft which is now surmounted by an 18th or 19th century column and sundial. The steps are constructed of blocks which are tied together with iron staples. The bottom step has a diameter of c.2m and the overall height of the steps and pedestal is c.1m. Originally, the pedestal would have been surmounted by the shaft and head of a medieval cross, but these components are now missing. The cross would have played a role in the liturgy of the church. Modern graves falling within the constraint area, and the surface of the adjacent path, are excluded from the scheduling though the ground underneath is included.

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1994. Scheduling Notification: Standing cross in the churchyard of All Saints' Church. List entry no. 1008824. SM Cat. No. 349.



Grid reference Centred SK 2082 5274 (9m by 9m)
Map sheet SK25SW

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Oct 21 2013 4:08PM

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