Churchyard cross at the Church of St Peter


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012876

Date first listed: 17-May-1995


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

District: Bradford (Metropolitan Authority)

Parish: Addingham

National Grid Reference: SE 08510 49671

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 in poor repair and missing its shaft and cross head, the cross in St Peter's churchyard is a good example of a simple churchyard cross which appears to be in its original location. Its proximity to the medieval parish church suggests that it played an important role in religious festivals during the Middle Ages though it may alternatively have had a sepulchral function.


The monument is a medieval churchyard cross whose remains include a calvary or stepped base of three steps, one of which is partially buried. Originally there would also have been a shaft and cross head. These components are now missing, however, and have been replaced by an 18th or 19th century sundial. The cross is located approximately 20m south of the current early 19th century Church of St Peter. It is associated, however, with the medieval parish church whose buried remains will survive in the churchyard. These remains have not been included in the scheduling as their extent and state of preservation is not sufficiently understood. The steps of the cross are constructed of gritstone blocks and measure roughly 2.5m square. Their total visible height is approximately 50cm and it is expected that the buried step was originally some 25cm-30cm high. In the top step is a socket hole whose appearance indicates a square cross shaft with a diameter of approximately 35cm. The sundial comprises a tapering octagonal pillar, approximately 1m high, with a moulded square capital and its gnomon still in place. The graves which fall within the area of the scheduling are excluded from 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: 23381

Legacy System: RSM


Hill, Angela Shackleton, (1994)
PRN 542,
Stored at 44 04 89 57 (WYAS), WY 182/8,

End of official listing