The Butter Cross, 650m west of Lowerhouse Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012665

Date first listed: 22-Oct-1968

Date of most recent amendment: 12-Jun-1995


Ordnance survey map of The Butter Cross, 650m west of Lowerhouse Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Staffordshire

District: Staffordshire Moorlands (District Authority)

Parish: Cheddleton

National Grid Reference: SJ9890452250


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.

The Butter Cross west of Lowerhouse Farm is a good example of a medieval standing cross with a stepped base and octagonal shaft. Situated at the intersection of two tracks, it is believed to stand in its original position marking the cross-roads. Limited activity in the area immediately surrounding the cross indicates that archaeological deposits relating to the monument's construction are likely to survive intact. While much of the cross survives from medieval times, subsequent restoration is evidence for its continued use as a public monument and landmark.


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


The monument includes a standing stone cross, known locally as the Butter Cross, located 650m west of Lowerhouse Farm. The cross is of stepped form and is principally medieval in date with modern additions. The monument includes the base, consisting of three steps and a socket-stone, and the shaft, knop and head. The cross was restored in 1926. The base includes three steps, all circular in plan and constructed of stone blocks. An inscription on the base records the early 20th century restoration of the cross. On the uppermost step stands the socket-stone, a large circular stone with a central square slot into which the shaft is set. This is square in section at the base, rising through chamfered corners to a tapering octagonal section near the top. It is approximately 2.7m high. Above the shaft are the knop and the cross-head, which are both early 20th century in date; the latter takes the form of a stone crucifix.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 1 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: 21595

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Beckett, J H, 'Transactions of the North Staffordshire Field Club' in Transactions of the North Staffordshire Field Club, , Vol. 57, (1923), 152
Johnstone, JD, 'Transactions of the North Staffordshire Field Club' in Transactions of the North Staffordshire Field Club, , Vol. 83, (1949), 123

End of official listing