Standing cross on Church Street, Mansfield Woodhouse


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012927

Date first listed: 06-Aug-1954

Date of most recent amendment: 31-Jul-1995


Ordnance survey map of Standing cross on Church Street, Mansfield Woodhouse
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Nottinghamshire

District: Mansfield (District Authority)

National Grid Reference: SK 53991 63374


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, the cross on Church Street is a reasonably well- preserved and visually impressive example which appears to be in its original location. Its proximity to the church suggests that it played an important role in religious festivals during the Middle Ages.


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


The monument is a medieval standing cross whose remains include a base or calvary of four steps surmounted by a socle or socket stone. Originally, there would also have been a shaft and cross head but these components are now missing. The bottom step of the calvary is c.2m square and is partially hidden by the modern cobbled surface surrounding it. Where it is exposed at the north west corner, it shows the step to be constructed of three layers of pavings. The remaining steps consist of single layers of more massive blocks. The total height of the calvary is c.1m. The socket stone is in two sections comprising a moulded plinth measuring c.70cm square and, mortared onto that, an octagonal block with pyramid stops on alternate faces. The total height of the socle is c.75cm. The surface of the octagonal section rises towards the centre in eight segments before levelling off. This level surface is c.15cm square and includes a circular hole at the centre which would have housed the peg that formerly held the cross shaft in place. The small size of the surface onto which the shaft fitted indicates that the shaft itself was very slender. This suggests that it may have been a wooden cross rather than a stone one and may account for why the shaft and cross head are missing. Alternatively, a stone shaft and cross head may have been vandalised by 16th or 17th century iconoclasts. The modern surface surrounding the monument is excluded from the scheduling though the ground underneath is included. The cross is Listed Grade II.

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: 23372

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Stapleton, A, Catalogue of Nottinghamshire Crosses, (1912), 17-18
'Transactions of the Thoroton Society' in Transactions of the Thoroton Society, , Vol. 59, (1955), 98-99
Shackleton Hill, Angela, (1994)

End of official listing