Churchyard cross at the Parish Church of St Luke and All Saints


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012875

Date first listed: 30-Jun-1995


Ordnance survey map of Churchyard cross at the Parish Church of St Luke and All Saints
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Wakefield (Metropolitan Authority)

Parish: Darrington

National Grid Reference: SE 48495 20166


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 shaft and cross head, the cross in St Luke and All Saints churchyard is a good example of a simple churchyard cross which appears to be in its original location. Its moulded socle is reasonably well-preserved and its proximity to the church suggests that it played an important role in religious festivals during the Middle Ages though it may alternatively have had a sepulchral function.


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


The monument is a medieval churchyard cross whose remains include a magnesian limestone cross base or socle located in the churchyard 2m south of the church porch. Originally there would also have been a shaft and cross head but these components are now missing. In their place is the fluted shaft of an octagonal sundial which dates to the post-medieval or early modern period. The moulded socle is roughly 90cm square at the base and stands approximately 50cm high. The square bottom section has chamfered corners with rounded stops while the upper section comprises two octagonal steps with chamfered upper edges. The upper face is roughly 75cm in diameter and includes a rectangular socket hole which measures 25cm by 30cm and currently houses the sundial. The shaft of the sundial is approximately 80cm tall and includes the peg holes for the missing gnomon. The cross is Listed Grade II. A magnesian limestone cross fragment, found in the churchyard in 1971, is believed to have come from this cross. Excluded from the scheduling are the gravestones and modern paths that lie within the area of 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: 23378

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
'Medieval Archaeology' in Medieval Archaeology, , Vol. XV, (1971), 175
Hill, Angela Shackleton, (1994)
PRN 2405 and 2485,

End of official listing