Cross in the churchyard of St Laurence's Church, Adwick le Street


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012935

Date first listed: 06-Sep-1995


Ordnance survey map of Cross in the churchyard of St Laurence's Church, Adwick le Street
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Doncaster (Metropolitan Authority)

National Grid Reference: SE 54099 08586


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 cross head, the cross in St Laurence's churchyard is a good example of a simple churchyard cross still in its original location. Its moulded socle is well-preserved and its interest is enhanced by the visible foundation platform underneath. The cross's proximity to the church suggests that it played an important role in religious festivals during the Middle Ages though it may alternatively have had a sepulchral function.


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


The monument is located 5m south of St Laurence's Church and includes the remains of a medieval churchyard cross. The remains comprise the plinth, socle and shaft of the cross together with the foundation platform which has been exposed on the west side by the construction of a path through the churchyard. Formerly the shaft would have been at least twice its present height and would have included a cross head. These components, however, are now missing. The foundation platform consists of a double course of magnesian limestone `bricks' and is surmounted by a single layer of larger slabs which together form a plinth measuring approximately 1m square. Surmounting the plinth is the socle or socket stone which is a dressed magnesian limestone block measuring approximately 65cm square by 50cm high. The bottom half of the socle is square while the upper section is octagonal. In the top is a 30cm square socket hole into which is fitted the bottom section of a square section cross shaft with chamfered corners and a pedestal. This surviving section is roughly 70cm tall and in the top are a number of peg holes which indicate that the shaft has been reused as a sundial, probably in the 18th or 19th century. The gnomen of the sundial is now missing. A single grave slab which lies within the area of the scheduling is not included in the scheduling. The surface of the modern path on the west side of the cross is excluded although the ground beneath it 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: 27207

Legacy System: RSM


On EH file, Shackleton Hill, Angela , Churchyard cross, Adwick le Street, (1994)
South Yorkshire SMR, PI 384, Churchyard cross, Adwick le Street,

End of official listing