Market cross


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012877

Date first listed: 26-Nov-1963

Date of most recent amendment: 16-May-1995


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

County: Derbyshire

District: High Peak (District Authority)

Parish: Chapel-en-le-Frith

National Grid Reference: SK0570880703

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.

Chapel en le Frith market cross is a well preserved and visually impressive example of a later standing cross which appears to be in its original location and retains its original components.


The monument is a late medieval or early post-medieval market cross located on the south side of the market place in Chapel en le Frith. It is constructed of gritstone and comprises a stepped base or calvary of four steps rising to a roughly octagonal socle or socket stone surmounted by a tapering octagonal shaft. At the top of the shaft is a Latin-style cross head which appears, formerly, to have had an additional feature projecting from the top. This feature is now missing and it is not clear what it may have been. The cross is undecorated but for roll-mouldings on the terminals of the cross arms and on the east and west faces of the cross head. In addition, the socle has sloping chamfered corners so that the base is square rather than octagonal and measures c.50cm on each side. The shaft is over 2m tall and c.30cm square, and the base step has a diameter of c.2.5m. The shaft is in four sections which have been mortared together and this, together with the fact that the cross head is also mortared in place, suggests that the monument has been broken and restored. In the past, a date of 1643 has been suggested for the cross but the reason for this is unclear. In addition to being scheduled the cross is Listed Grade II. A number of features falling within the area of the scheduling are excluded from the scheduling; these are the modern paved surface and railings, a lamp post and a bollard, although the ground beneath all of these features 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: 23385

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Bunting, W B, Chapel-en-le-Frith, (1940), 50/146
'Kelly's Directory' in Kelly's Directory, (1904)
Shackleton Hill, Angela, (1994)

End of official listing