Market cross 8m west of the Market House


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017623

Date first listed: 05-Dec-1928

Date of most recent amendment: 19-Mar-1998


Ordnance survey map of Market cross 8m west of the Market House
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Northamptonshire

District: East Northamptonshire (District Authority)

Parish: Brigstock

National Grid Reference: SP 94643 85300


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 remains of the market cross at Brigstock represent a good example of a standing cross located in or near its original position, and set within a preserved area of an early marketplace surface. Limited activity in the area surrounding the cross indicates that archaeological deposits relating to the monument's construction and use in this location will survive as buried features. Whilst the base of the cross has survived from medieval times, the 16th century shaft, together with subsequent restoration work illustrates the continued function of the cross as a public monument and amenity.


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


The monument includes the remains of the standing stone cross located some 8m west of the Market House at the junction of Hall Hill and Church Street. The pitched stone cobbling surrounding the cross is also included in the scheduling. This cobbling is thought to represent part of an early surface of the market place, perhaps dating to the 16th century and will retain buried archaeological deposits relating both to the cross and to the market.

The market cross is thought to occupy its original position. The cross base and socket stone are believed to belong to the medieval period, although the architectural style of the shaft suggests a 16th century date for this portion of the cross, replacing an earlier shaft. The replacement of the shaft may have been carried out as part of a remodelling of the market place involving the laying of the cobbled surface.

The cross base includes four steps of mortared block construction with lipped treads, decreasing in size from about 3.8m square to 1.25m square and standing to a height of approximately 1.22m. The plain splayed socket stone is approximately 0.7m square by 0.55m high. The bevelled shaft of the cross is morticed into the socket stone and is about 0.4m square with a moulded capital. The cross head has four faces and carries the arms of France and England. The initials of Elizabeth I, Queen Anne, Queen Victoria and Elizabeth II, together with the dates 1586, 1705, 1778 and 1887, are incised on the faces of the shaft. The cross head is surmounted by a ball finial into which is mortared a plain iron weather vane. The total height of the cross is approximately 4m.

The cross was restored between 1900 and 1928 when the steps were rebuilt and it is thought that the weather vane may have been added at this time. Further restoration work was carried out in 1986.

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: 29719

Legacy System: RSM


FMW report, Armstrong L, AM107/2, (1979)
FMW report, Dodd A, AM107/4, (1989)

End of official listing