Medieval standing cross and early 20th century memorial cross


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012155

Date first listed: 27-Feb-1995


Ordnance survey map of Medieval standing cross and early 20th century memorial cross
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Doncaster (Metropolitan Authority)

Parish: Hickleton

National Grid Reference: SE 48364 05314


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 stepped calvary of the Hickleton cross is a reasonably well preserved and visually impressive example which is still in its original location and therefore preserves not only its medieval foundations but also the medieval land surface underneath. When constructed, it would have played an important role in religious festivals and other aspects of village life. Its importance is increased by its relationship to a second cross whose remains are located at the opposite end of the village. The modern components are of additional interest both in art-historical terms and because they can be directly related to a specific historical event, the death of Edward VII.


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


The monument includes the remains of a medieval standing cross and the early 20th century socket stone, shaft and cross head which now surmount it. The later features have replaced original medieval components which are now missing, possibly as a result of post-medieval iconoclasm.

The medieval remains comprise a stepped base or calvary and a foundation platform which is visible in places beneath the calvary. Both are octagonal and have a maximum diameter of approximately 3.5m. The calvary rises to a height of roughly 1.6m and consists of five steps constructed of dressed magnesian limestone blocks. Although some of the material appears to be original, some elements are more modern and indicate that the calvary has been restored whereas the foundation platform, which is constructed of small limestone `bricks', appears to be entirely medieval.

The modern components include a double socket stone or socle decorated with bas-relief Gothic inscriptions. Both socles are octagonal and, together, measure approximately 0.8m high and 1m in diameter. The inscriptions are divided between panels formed by the dressed faces of the stones. In each case, the north and south faces are blank. On the west side, the inscription on the smaller top socle reads `May 6th 1910'. On the east side it reads `Erected by Charles Lindley, Viscount Halifax: his (?) and friends'. On the bottom socle, the inscription on the west side reads `To Edward VII: King of England: in memory of the past' while that on the east side reads `Grant him O Lord eternal rest and let light perpetual shine upon him'.

Surmounting the socle is an octagonal shaft which has a diameter of roughly 20cm and rises to a height of about 3m inclusive of the moulded and decorated cross head. The cross head bears the Lindley crest on the east side and a figural carving of the Madonna and Child on the west side. The cross stands on a flat-topped circular mound which has a total diameter of approximately 7.5m and is included in the scheduling.

The cross is Listed Grade II.

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: 27212

Legacy System: RSM


Hill, Angela Shackleton, (1994)

End of official listing