Garstang market cross


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012646

Date first listed: 27-Feb-1957

Date of most recent amendment: 18-May-1995


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

County: Lancashire

District: Wyre (District Authority)

Parish: Garstang

National Grid Reference: SD 49211 45160


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 some of the monument's fabric is post medieval, Garstang medieval market cross stands in its original location and retains its original base. It is a rare survival in Lancashire of an in situ medieval market cross.


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


The monument includes Garstang market cross located in the Market Place in front of the Royal Oak Hotel. It is constructed of sandstone and consists of a base, socket stone, shaft, knop and head, and measures approximately 5m in height. The base is medieval in date and comprises a flight of three steps which are octagonal in plan. On the centre of the base is the square socket stone. It has undecorated panels on each face and a moulded top. The shaft is a circular tapering Doric column with an enrichment based on alternate eggs and arrowheads, known as egg and dart decoration, around the knop at the top. The head of the cross is a simple sandstone half globe. The original cross shaft was removed in 1754 because of strong local feelings against Roman Catholics. It was replaced by the present obelisk which, in 1897, was taken down and rebuilt, with a few alterations, as a jubilee memorial to commemorate Queen Victoria's 60th year on the throne. All kerbstones, cobbles and railings 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: 23784

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Taylor, H, The Ancient Crosses and Holy Wells of Lancashire, (1906), 276-8
Morris,R., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Standing Crosses, (1990)
SMR No. 379, Lancs SMR, Market Cross, Garstang, (1984)

End of official listing