Medieval standing cross known as the Hurl Stone, 900m north west of Newtown Mill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015479

Date first listed: 26-Nov-1932

Date of most recent amendment: 27-Aug-1996


Ordnance survey map of Medieval standing cross known as the Hurl Stone, 900m north west of Newtown Mill
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Lilburn

National Grid Reference: NU 03953 24716


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.

The Hurl Stone early medieval standing cross survives reasonably well and is a prominent landscape feature.


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


The monument includes the shaft of a standing cross of medieval date situated in a prominent position on top of a small hill near Newtown; there are extensive views in all directions. It consists of a tapering cross shaft, square in section, which measures 0.5m by 0.36m at the base, and stands c.4m high. The stone is set into a rectangular socket stone, 1.4m by 1.5m, which stands 0.46m high. The shaft does not appear to have been carved with any decorative motifs and only bears later graffiti carved on some faces. The history of the stone is somewhat uncertain: this might be its original position or it may have been moved from a site near the road. It is known to have been erected in the socket stone in the early 19th century after the upper portion was struck off by lightning and this may be commemorated by the date 1838 and a cross symbol which is carved in one face. The socket stone stands in the centre of a low circular earth mound 7m in diameter and 0.1m to 0.2m high.

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: 29301

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Dodds, M H, A History of Northumberland, (1935), 323-324
NU 02 SW 7,

End of official listing