Market cross at Highburton


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Market cross at Highburton
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1011850 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 26-May-2019 at 04:00:32.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Kirklees (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SE 19105 13550

Reasons 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.

Though somewhat dilapidated and missing its original shaft, Burton market cross is still reasonably well preserved and appears to be in its original location. Its current early modern shaft is an interesting example in the Classical style.


The monument is the market cross located at the junction of Hall Lane and Town Gate in Highburton village. Its remains include a stepped base or calvary of four steps surmounted by a socket stone or socle and a decorated cross shaft. The steps of the calvary are constructed of stapled gritstone slabs and, where visible, are each approximately 20cm high. The bottom step, which is now partially hidden, is c.2.5m square. The topmost step is c.1m square. The socle is a dressed gritstone block with a chamfered upper edge and measures roughly 75cm square and just under 50cm high. It includes a square socket hole which now holds an 18th century cross shaft. This shaft, which has replaced an earlier feature, is approximately 2.5m tall by 25cm in diameter and is octagonal but for the bottom 50cm which is square. The edges of the octagonal section are decorated with mouldings while the faces between include incised herringbone ornamentation. The top of the shaft narrows to a neck which is surmounted by a collar and ball finial. Although the cross shaft is relatively modern, the rest of the monument is believed to be medieval or early post medieval in date. The cross is Listed Grade II. Records indicate that `Burton Market' was in existence by the mid 14th century since details of its tolls are given in the Wakefield Court Rolls for the years 1353 and 1354. Several modern features falling within the area of the scheduling are excluded from the scheduling though the ground underneath them is included. These are the paved surfaces on two sides of the cross, a wall, a bench, a wastebin and a telephone kiosk. The cindered area falling within the area of the scheduling on the remaining two sides of the cross is not excluded from the scheduling as disturbance to this may damage sensitive archaeological remains.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Hill, Angela Shackleton, (1994)
PRN 2417,


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].