St Leonard's Church and cross base adjacent to St Mary's Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017557

Date first listed: 22-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of St Leonard's Church and cross base adjacent to St Mary's Church
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Dec-2018 at 14:10:23.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Sand Hutton

National Grid Reference: SE 69501 58592, SE 69501 58604


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

Reasons for Designation

A parish church is a building, usually of roughly rectangular outline and containing a range of furnishings and fittings appropriate to its use for Christian worship by a secular community, whose members gather in it on Sundays and on the occasion of religious festivals. Children are initiated into the Christian religion at the church's font and the dead are buried in its churchyard. Parish churches were designed for congregational worship and are generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provides accommodation for the laity, and the chancel, which is the main domain of the priest and contains the principal altar. Either or both parts are sometimes provided with aisles, giving additional accommodation or spaces for additional altars. Most parish churches also possess towers, generally at the west end, but central towers at the crossing of nave and chancel are not uncommon and some churches have a free-standing or irregularly sited tower. Many parish churches also possess transepts at the crossing of chancel and nave, and south or north porches are also common. The main periods of parish church foundation were in the 10th to 11th and 19th centuries. Most medieval churches were rebuilt and modified on a number of occasions and hence the visible fabric of the church will be of several different dates, with in some cases little fabric of the first church being still easily visible. Parish churches are found throughout England. Their distribution reflects the density of population at the time they were founded. In regions of dispersed settlement parishes were often large and churches less numerous. The densest clusters of parish churches were found in thriving medieval towns. A survey of 1625 reported the existence of nearly 9000 parish churches in England. New churches built in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries increased numbers to around 18,000 of which 17,000 remain in ecclesiastical use. Parish churches have always been major features of the landscape and a major focus of life for their parishioners. They provide important insights into medieval and later population levels or economic cycles, religious activity, artistic endeavour and technical achievement. A significant number of surviving examples are identified to be nationally important.

Standing crosses served a variety of functions. In churchyards they often formed stations for outdoor processions, particularly in the observance of Palm Sunday. They were also used as places for preaching, public proclamation and penance and could also function as boundary markers between parishes, settlements or properties. They sometimes also defined areas of sanctuary. Standing crosses were mostly erected during the medieval period and are thought to have numbered in excess of 12,000 throughout England. However their survival since the reformation has been variable, and less than 2000 are thought to survive in their original locations with or without crossheads. Standing crosses contribute to our understanding of medieval customs, both secular and religious, and to our knowledge of medieval parishes and settlement patterns. St Leonard's Church was abandoned by the mid-19th century at the latest. As a result it was not renovated by the Victorians, unlike many other churches nationally. St Leonard's Church thus retains significant medieval fabric and remains which have not been disturbed by later restoration and improvement work. Evidence of construction details and other information that may have been lost in churches which remain in use will survive. The in situ survival of a contemporary cross base and font adds to the importance of the site.


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


The monument includes the standing and buried remains of a 12th-century church and the base of an associated medieval cross. It does not include the wider surrounding churchyard which is still in use as part of the adjacent church of St Mary. The village of Sandhutton is recorded as Hottune in the Domesday Book. It is not known if the church of St Leonard was already in existence by this time. The oldest part of the surviving fabric is the round headed south door which dates to the early 12th century. The building is very simple in plan with a twin bayed nave and a single bayed chancel. The surviving windows are perpendicular in style and are dated to the 15th century. The south wall is supported at either end by plain buttresses dated to the 18th or 19th centuries. The church is believed to have been ruinous by the mid-19th century when the adjacent church of St Mary's was built by the local landowner. The church is rectangular in plan, measuring about 13m long by 5.5m wide. It is of a cobble and rubble stone construction with both sandstone and limestone dressings. The north and west walls survive as footings, as do the central sections of the east and south walls. The west end of the south wall, containing the round headed door, and the south east corner of the church, which retains a window on the south wall and a fragment of the east window, survive up to a maximum of about 3m in height. A fragment of the north east corner also survives to over 1.5m. Inside the church, close to the north wall and just east of the south door, there is a stone font. This is circular in plan, and carved from a single piece of stone without ornamentation. It is set on a rough, rubble stone built cylindrical column set on a square plinth. Just beyond the west wall, on the centre line of the church, there is a set of stone steps leading down to a crypt beneath the west end of the church. Access to this is barred by an iron grill. About 8m to the south of the south door there is the square base of a medieval cross. This measures 0.6m square and is in two sections with an octagonal upper face and a central square socket 0.3m across. The ruins of the church, including the font, are Listed Grade II.

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: 30126

Legacy System: RSM


Record form, National Archaeological Record, SE 65 NE 04, (1990)
Record form, National Archaeological Record, SE 65 NE 4, (1990)

End of official listing