Churchyard cross at St James' and St Paul's Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017841

Date first listed: 29-Jan-1998


Ordnance survey map of Churchyard cross at St James' and St Paul's Church
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cheshire East (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Marton

National Grid Reference: SJ 85029 67982


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 churchyard cross at Marton survives well despite the loss of the cross head and about half of the shaft. The cross head and remainder of the shaft are preserved inside the adjacent church. This survival of a complete medieval cross is rare in Cheshire.


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


The monument includes a cross in the churchyard on the south side of St James' and St Paul's Church. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, consists of a modern gritstone block which has been inserted under a medieval sandstone cross base on the original site of the cross, 5m from from the south wall of the church and 5m south east of the south porch. The modern block measures 1.05m square and 0.15m high above ground level. The older cross base is cut in the form of two steps; the first is 0.68m square and 0.28m high, the second is 0.55m square and 0.15m high. Set into the socle is a shaft, broken off at 0.55m and revealing a metal pin. The remainder of the cross with the head blew down in 1991, is now retained inside the church and is not included in the scheduling. The shaft is square at the bottom, rising to octagonal. There are slots cut into the stone of the shaft on the north and south faces. These were to secure the cross with iron ties as a repair in the past. Gravestones which have been laid flat on the north and south sides of the cross are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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: 30364

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing