Market cross


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014002

Date first listed: 24-May-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 12-Feb-1996


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: East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Brandesburton

National Grid Reference: TA 11800 47569


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.

Although consolidated and restored at different periods of time, the Brandesburton village cross survives in good condition and still retains a portion of its original cross head, albeit very weathered. It is located in its original position in the centre of the village and has important local historical significance.


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


The monument includes the remains of a medieval stone cross shaft and base, situated on the village green towards the centre of Brandesburton. The cross, including the base and shaft combined, survives to a total height of 4.6m from ground to pinnacle. The cross shaft is octagonal in section and survives to a height of around 3m, and has the remains of a very weathered cross head upon the pinnacle (crocketed finial). Poulson (1840) remarks that `It appears that there are two standing figures surmounting the cross (back to back), their hands joined in an attitude of prayer', but they have become too worn to distinguish as such now. The shaft base is set into a rectangular stone block measuring 0.76m north- south by 0.85m east-west, and this, in turn, is set upon three further tiers of stone, which progressively increase in size, from 1.4m square, to 2.15m, to a final 2.8m square at the base. The tiered stone setting upon which the shaft is set has been heavily restored, with the first, broadest base faced with modern concrete and apparently filled in places by modern brick, and the upper tiers having original sandstone blocks reset in concrete. A local market held in Brandesburton by the cross and established during the 19th century gradually fell out of use by the turn of the century. The cross is also Listed Grade II.

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: 26570

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Poulson, , History and Antiquities of the Seignoury of Holderness: Volume 1284
Currie, Dr E.J., MPPA Site Visit,
Dept. of the Environment, Listed Buildings Description,
Humberside SMR, Sites and Monuments Record Sheet,

End of official listing