Wayside cross at Howbrook crossroads


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011757

Date first listed: 01-May-1995


Ordnance survey map of Wayside cross at Howbrook crossroads
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Barnsley (Metropolitan Authority)

Parish: Wortley

National Grid Reference: SK 32586 98131


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross erected during the medieval period, mostly from the 9th to 15th centuries AD. In addition to serving the function of reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, wayside crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in difficult and otherwise unmarked terrain. The crosses might be on regularly used routes linking ordinary settlements or on routes having a more specifically religious function, including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners and funeral processions, or marking long-distance routes frequented on pilgrimages. Over 350 wayside crosses are known nationally, concentrated in south west England throughout Cornwall and on Dartmoor where they form the commonest type of stone cross. A small group also occurs on the North York Moors. Relatively few examples have been recorded elsewhere and these are generally confined to remote moorland locations. Outside Cornwall almost all wayside crosses take the form of a `Latin' cross, in which the cross-head itself is shaped within the projecting arms of an unenclosed cross. In Cornwall wayside crosses vary considerably in form and decoration. The commonest type includes a round, or `wheel', head on the faces of which various forms of cross or related designs were carved in relief or incised, the spaces between the cross arms possibly pierced. The design was sometimes supplemented with a relief figure of Christ and the shaft might bear decorative panels and motifs. Less common forms in Cornwall include the `Latin' cross and, much rarer, the simple slab with a low relief cross on both faces. Rare examples of wheel-head and slab-form crosses also occur within the North York Moors group. Most wayside crosses have either a simple socketed base or show no evidence for a separate base at all. Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval religious customs and sculptural traditions and to our knowledge of medieval routeways and settlement patterns. All wayside crosses which survive as earth- fast monuments, except those which are extremely damaged and removed from their original locations, are considered worthy of protection.

Although missing its cross shaft and head, the Howbrook cross is a good example of an in situ wayside cross associated with an ancient crossroads.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument is the remains of a medieval wayside cross and includes the socle or socket stone of the cross set into the remains of a disused boundary wall. Originally there would also have been a shaft and cross head but these components are now missing. The socle is a dressed rectangular block with chamfered upper corners and a rectangular socket hole. At the base it measures 80cm by 70cm and is approximately 30cm high. The socket hole measures 30cm by 25cm but is open on the east side where part of the socle is broken away. On the surface of the socle, leading from the western edge to the socket hole, is a narrow groove of uncertain purpose. It may have been used to run lead into the socket hole but this is not clear. The base blocks of an old wall extend to north and south on either side of the socle but the precise relationship between the wall and the cross is unknown. The modern garden wall to the west of the socle, the modern road surface to the east, a lamp post/give-way sign and the stay of a telegraph pole are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 23391

Legacy System: RSM


Hill, Angela Shackleton, (1994)
PI 159,

End of official listing