Market cross


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012937

Date first listed: 06-Sep-1995


Ordnance survey map of Market cross
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Doncaster (Metropolitan Authority)

Parish: Hooton Pagnell

National Grid Reference: SE 48550 08101


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.

Hooton Pagnell market cross is a very well-preserved and visually impressive example of a later standing cross which is still in its original location and retains all its components though these are not necessarily all of the same date. The existence of documentary evidence relating to the cross enhances its importance.


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


The monument is located on the west side of the main road through Hooton Pagnell and includes the remains of a late medieval or early post-medieval market cross. The remains include a stepped base or calvary, a plinth, a socle or socket stone and a cross shaft. The whole is set in a niche at the road side, overlooking a steep drop to the west. The 1m high calvary currently comprises three steps of magnesian limestone slabs. The bottom step is over 0.5m high and has a triple course of foundation stones visible underneath. This exposed foundation indicates that there was, originally, a fourth and possibly even a fifth step which would have extended into the road on the east side and almost filled the niche in which the cross is set. This implies that the cross originally covered an area of some 4m square. Surmounting the calvary is a 20cm high magnesian limestone plinth. On top of this is a moulded socle which measures approximately 75cm square and a little under 50cm high. The bottom half of the socle is square but the top half is octagonal. The corners of the square section extended upwards creating sharp pyramidal stops on alternate faces of the octagonal section. In the top of the socle is a 25cm square socket hole which is much bigger than the current shaft which measures approximately 20cm by 15cm and stands 60cm high. This suggests that the current shaft is a replacement though it is clearly of some antiquity. The current shaft has chamfered corners and a bevelled top portion which includes a peg-hole. The latter feature may, originally, have held a wooden cross head or other fixture. Local tradition is that the cross was erected in the mid-16th century. However, the style of the socle points to a 13th century date for this part of the cross which suggests that the monument is, in fact, a multi-period construction. A market charter was granted in 1253 to Sir Geoffrey Luterel of `Hooton Painell' and it is probable that the socle and original cross shaft date to this period. The original shaft may have been removed and replaced in the mid-16th century, which was a period of religious iconoclasm in England. It is not clear to which period the calvary belongs but it too may have been added in the 16th century. The cross is Listed Grade II. The wall enclosing the monument is not included in the scheduling.

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


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

Legacy System number: 27209

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Clark, Professor, 'Thoresby Society Publications' in Thoresby Society Publications, , Vol. 15, (1909), 26-29
Clark, Professor, Thoresby Society Publications, (1909)
Shackleton Hill, Angela, (1994)

End of official listing