Standing cross, Clowne


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011851

Date first listed: 08-May-1956

Date of most recent amendment: 05-May-1995


Ordnance survey map of Standing cross, Clowne
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Derbyshire

District: Bolsover (District Authority)

Parish: Clowne

National Grid Reference: SK 49150 75434


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

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 missing its original shaft, socle and cross head, the base of the Clowne cross is a reasonably well preserved example of a medieval calvary still in its original location. The later components of the cross are art-historically important in their own right.


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


The monument includes the stepped base or calvary of a medieval standing cross surmounted by an 18th century socket stone and cross shaft. The latter have replaced the original medieval components which were probably removed during the 16th or 17th century. The base consists of three octagonal sandstone steps with an overall diameter of c.2.5m and a combined height of c.0.6m. The socket stone or socle is an octagonal sandstone block with pyramid stops on alternate faces and is surmounted by a Tuscan style columnar shaft with rounded collars at top and bottom and a square knop and ball finial above. A sundial is incised into the south face of the knop but the metal gnomen has been broken off, as has the metal cross which was formerly mounted on the ball finial. The cross stands at the junction of High Street, Mill Street and Church Street and has an overall height of c.3.5m. In addition to being scheduled, it is Listed Grade II*. The surrounding modern road surface is excluded from the scheduling though the ground underneath is included.

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: 23387

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Buckley, J A, A History of Clowne, (1977)
Mee, A, Derbyshire, (1937), 81
Hill, Angela Shackleton, (1994)

End of official listing