Village cross at the western end of Main Street


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015209

Date first listed: 29-Jun-1965

Date of most recent amendment: 15-May-1996


Ordnance survey map of Village cross at the western end of Main Street
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Leicestershire

District: Melton (District Authority)

Parish: Frisby on the Wreake

National Grid Reference: SK 69417 17667


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.

Village cross at the western end of Main Street is a good example of a medieval standing cross with a stepped base. The western end of Main Street was the former marketplace, and the cross stands near to its original position and retains the setting in which it was originally constructed. While most of the cross survives from medieval times, its subsequent restoration illustrates its continued function as a public monument and amenity.


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


The monument includes the village cross, a standing stone cross in a cobbled area at the western end of Main Street. It is of stepped form and is principally medieval in date with late-19th century repairs. The monument is Listed Grade II and includes a base, consisting of three steps and a socket stone, and a shaft. The steps are roughly square in plan and are constructed of ashlar blocks. Documentary references indicate that they were restored in the late-19th century. On the uppermost step stands the cube-like undecorated socket stone, 0.82m square and 0.44m high. Set into the socket stone is the stone shaft which has a tapering, square section and angle roll mouldings. These mouldings define long thin panels on each of the four faces of the shaft which are decorated with a pattern of fleurons (flowerlike ornaments). The top of the shaft is now flat and it is missing its cross-head, but the shaft is thought to stand to its original height of 2.6m. The cross is traditionally known as a market and preaching cross and is believed have been erected in the mid-14th century about 7m to the west of its present location, in the centre of the road, but was moved in 1981. The cobbled and tarmac surfaces which surround the cross and the surface of the modern road are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 1 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: 21653

Legacy System: RSM


Leicestershire Sites and Monuments Record, 61 NE.M, (1982)
NMR, SK 61 NE 5, (1969)

End of official listing