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Standing cross in churchyard of St Barnabas, Bromborough, beside the porch

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Standing cross in churchyard of St Barnabas, Bromborough, beside the porch

List entry Number: 1015600


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.


District: Wirral

District Type: Metropolitan Authority


National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 22-Jul-1997

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 27605

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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 cross at Bromborough represents the remains of a cross which stood on or near this site during the 9th or 10th century and was incorporated in the fabric of a later stone church building on the site of the present church. The cross points to an important ecclesiastical foundation of the late Anglo-Saxon period. The remains survive in their present setting after their rescue in 1863 and 100 years of storage in the church porch. The restoration is sensitive to the spirit of the original. The decoration of the surviving carved pieces will provide important information about the monastic schools of sculpture in the region as well as reflecting the piety of the early Christians who commissioned the original work.


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


The monument includes a standing cross in the churchyard of St Barnabas church in Bromborough. The cross has been assembled from fragments found during the demolition of the earlier church in 1863. For many years the fragments were stored in the porch and were only recently restored. The cross was set up 1m from the east wall of the south porch and 1.4m from the south wall. The pieces appear to be all from the same Anglo-Saxon original and date from the 9th or 10th century. The fragments are assembled on a modern base block of roughly dressed stone set level with the ground. This measures 0.75m by 0.6m. The next stage is a modern slab of red sandstone 0.32m by 0.15m wide and 0.73m high. Above this are two fragments of a cross shaft of Anglo-Saxon design, correctly matched, with a roll moulding running down the south west edge and interlace decoration on the west and south faces. The east face is roughly dressed back for insertion onto another building and the north face is roughly dressed to take plaster on the surface of the stone. These two conjoined pieces measure 0.32m by 0.14m wide and 0.63m high to a modern insertion to support a fragment of a wheel head topped by a cap of modern stone to complete the design. The wheel head shows a beaded moulding around the south face and is partly pierced for the arms of the cross within the wheel. These arms project slightly beyond the edge of the wheel. The central boss has been erased. The cross stands 1.9m high in all. The remains of seven other stones, which are not included in the scheduling, from this period have been recorded. These have been incorporated in stone walls and rockeries in the Rectory or have been lost. These remains point to the site of the church having been an important ecclesiastical site during the period immediately before the Conquest.

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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Anderson, A, The Great Cross of Bromborough, (1934), 14
Anderson, A, The Great Cross of Bromborough, (1934), 15

National Grid Reference: SJ 34914 82205


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This copy shows the entry on 21-Jan-2018 at 04:17:26.

End of official listing