Standing cross known as Top Cross


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012924

Date first listed: 04-Jun-1952

Date of most recent amendment: 09-Aug-1995


Ordnance survey map of Standing cross known as Top Cross
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Nottinghamshire

District: Gedling (District Authority)

Parish: Linby

National Grid Reference: SK 53422 50998


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 original shaft, socle and cross head, the base of the Top Cross is a well preserved and visually impressive example of a stepped calvary still in its original location. When constructed, it would have played an important role in religious festivals and other aspects of village life and may also have served as a boundary cross. Its importance is increased by its relationship to Linby Bottom Cross, located at the opposite end of the village.


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


The monument includes the remains of the standing cross located on the western or `top' green at Linby. A second cross, known as the Bottom Cross, the subject of a separate scheduling, is located on the eastern, or `bottom' green The remains comprise a late medieval or early post-medieval base of seven octagonal steps surmounted by a mid-19th century socket stone, shaft and cross head. The originals of these latter components are missing, possibly as a result of 16th or 17th century iconoclasm. The stepped base of the cross, known as a calvary, rises to a height of c.2m and covers an area of c.4m square. Each step consists of a double layer of pavings. The modern socket stone or socle is c.50cm square by 30cm high and has chamfered corners with pyramid stops. The square-sectioned shaft has chamfered edges and a square pedestal, and tapers to a square collar beneath a moulded square capital. Together with the cross head, which is straight armed and has moulded terminals, it measures c.2.5m high. The socle, shaft and cross head were added to the calvary in 1869 by Andrew Montague, Armiger, and John Lawrence Prior, Rector. They were designed in imitation of those belonging to Linby Bottom Cross which are considered, at least in part, to be of late-17th century date. The cross is possibly that noted in a perambulation of 1505 as marking the boundary of Sherwood Forest though this, alternatively, may have been the Bottom Cross. In 1980, repairs carried out to the cross revealed part of the inner structure of limestone blocks and a section of this inner structure has been left exposed on the north side where part of the calvary is missing. In addition to being scheduled the cross is Listed Grade II. The modern paved area surrounding the cross is 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: 23369

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Williamson, E, The Buildings of England: Nottinghamshire, (1979), 165
Shackleton Hill, Angela, (1994)
Stapleton, A., New Notes on Nottinghamshire Crosses, 1911,
Stapleton, A., Notes on Nottinghamshire Crosses, 1903,

End of official listing