Linton churchyard cross and sundial


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012607

Date first listed: 07-Jul-1995


Ordnance survey map of Linton churchyard cross and sundial
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Craven (District Authority)

Parish: Linton


National Grid Reference: SE 00507 63216


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.

Although the shaft of this cross appears to be a later addition, the stepped base survives in its original location beside this early Christian foundation.


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


The monument is situated on the north side of the parish Church of St Michael and All Angels at Linton in Craven. The limestone and gritstone monument includes a two tier stone base clamped with iron staples set in lead surmounted by a shaft which has been used to hold a sundial. The base tier measures 1.7m square although only the north and east sides are visible above the ground surface. The tier above includes four blocks of stone and measures 1m by 1m with a height of 0.2m. The socket stone measures 0.51m by 0.51m and 0.3m high with a vertical ridge incised on the east face. The square shaft has angled corners and reaches a height of 0.86m and width of 0.22m widening slightly toward its top. The shaft, which once held a sundial, appears to be a later addition to the cross base, replacing the original cross shaft. The east side of the plinth rests upon a stone block which in turn covers the west end of a narrow grave slab with a brass plaque inscribed: `Here lyeth the body of Robert West Anno Domini 1637 May 16'. The sundial and grave slab are 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: 24533

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Wright, J E, The Parish Church of St Michael and All Angels, Linton in Craven, (1991), 22

End of official listing