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Cross in the churchyard of St Leonard's Church

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Cross in the churchyard of St Leonard's Church

List entry Number: 1012931


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.


District: Rotherham

District Type: Metropolitan Authority

Parish: Thrybergh

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 23-Aug-1995

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 23400

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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 broken and not in its original location, the cross in St Leonard's churchyard is a reasonably well-preserved example whose importance is enhanced by the unusual and varied ornamentation.


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


The monument is the shaft of a medieval cross currently located in St Leonard's churchyard in Thrybergh. It comprises a slightly tapering rectangular section shaft of magnesian limestone set on a modern sandstone base. The shaft measures c.1.3m high and 30cm by 25cm at the base. All four corners are moulded, the western pair with roll-moulding and the eastern pair with faint traces of nodules at regular intervals. The mouldings frame panels of carved decoration on all four faces. However, because the cross is not in its original location, it is not known if the faces are correctly orientated. The narrow south face is decorated with vine-scroll comprising two intertwining stems cut off at the base by an uncarved section. The north face bears a form of interlace decoration with a single boss at the centre of the pattern and foliage forms near the base. The wider east face contains a tree form with a straight central stem surrounded by foliage which is apparently damaged at the base. On the west face, at the base, is the torso of a tonsured monk holding a book and set in a niche surrounded by a roll-moulded lancet. Above the lancet is an area of decoration which cannot be deciphered due to its faintness. Above that is a four-legged hoofed animal and, above that, the feet, shins and robe-hem of a human figure. The last indicates that the shaft is broken and would originally have been at least 50cm taller. The varied forms of the decoration make the cross difficult to date. The lancet on the west face and an acanthus leaf on the north face both suggest a 13th century date. However, the interlace and vine-scroll may be 11th century or earlier and suggest that the later forms may be the result of recarving. The cross was moved to its present location in 1947, apparently from a cemetery elsewhere in the village. It is associated with a local legend of a crusader missing for seven years and reappearing at the site of the cross. In addition, the cross is Listed Grade II.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Collingwood, W G, Northumbrian Crosses of the Pre-Norman Age, (1927), 181
Collingwood, W G, Northumbrian Crosses of the Pre-Norman Age, (1927), 181
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Yorkshire - The West Riding, (1959), 509
Collingwood, W G, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in Anglian and Anglo-Danish Sculpture, , Vol. 23, (1915), 249
Ryder, P F, 'County Archaeological Monograph No.2' in Saxon Churches in South Yorkshire, (1982), 120-121
Ryder, P F, 'County Archaeological Monograph No.2' in Saxon Churches in South Yorkshire, (1982), 120-121
Drawing of north and west faces, South Yorkshire Archaeological Service Report, appendix B, (1992)
Shackleton Hill, Angela, (1994)

National Grid Reference: SK4672995474


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This copy shows the entry on 20-Sep-2018 at 09:10:19.

End of official listing