Standing cross in churchyard of St Gregory's Church at Cropton

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012886

Date first listed: 18-Jul-1995

Map

Ordnance survey map of Standing cross in churchyard of St Gregory's Church at Cropton
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Cropton

National Park: NORTH YORK MOORS

National Grid Reference: SE 75626 89277

Summary

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 standing cross at St Gregory's Church, Cropton, survives well in spite of damage to the shaft and the loss of the head. Some detail of its original decoration survives. It is probably in its original position on the south side of the present church. Since the church itself was rebuilt in the 19th century this cross gives a strong indication of an earlier medieval church on that site.

The church and cross must be seen in the context of the motte and bailey castle 50m to the west of the churchyard and thus becomes part of a relict medieval landscape.

History

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

Details



The monument includes a Grade II Listed standing cross in the churchyard of St Gregory's Church at Cropton. It comprises the original base and part of the shaft.

The cross stands in its original position 15m from the south wall of the church. The base is shaped like a drum and stands 0.36m high from ground level and 0.99m in diameter. It is earth fast. The shaft stands on the base and is square in section. It is 0.21m wide and is 0.78m high from the base to the top where it has been broken. At a point 0.23m from the base the shaft has been sculpted to a chamfered edge with a small crocket ornament on the bevel at each corner. The form and style of the cross date it to the 14th century.

There is a small brass plate fixed to the east face of the shaft which commemorates its restoration in 1776.

The gravestones around the monument are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath them is included.

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.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 25635

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing