Cross in St John the Baptist's churchyard


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018066

Date first listed: 10-Jun-1998


Ordnance survey map of Cross in St John the Baptist's churchyard
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This copy shows the entry on 16-Jan-2019 at 10:26:45.


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

District: Dudley (Metropolitan Authority)

National Grid Reference: SO 96657 83560


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 in St John the Baptist's churchyard is principally medieval in date, and its position within the churchyard, close to the centre of the High Street, indicates that it may have served both religious and secular functions associated with preaching and with the market which was held adjacent to it. Its later alteration including the addition of the ball finial indicates that the cross continued to serve as a focus for public attention after the medieval period.


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


The monument includes a standing cross of red sandstone, which is Listed Grade II, and located within the churchyard of St John the Baptist's Church, approximately 15.5m south east of the south east angle of the church. Although located within the churchyard the cross is also near the centre of Halesowen High Street, and may have additionally acted as a market cross.

The cross is of stepped form, and is principally medieval in date with some later additions including steps, a socket stone, a shaft, knop and head. The step is square in plan measuring 1.5m square, and is at least 0.5m high. It is bevelled on its upper surface, and is partially bonded with mortar. The socket stone measures 1.1m square, is at least 0.6m high and chamfered on its upper corners. The end of the shaft measures 0.37m square, and is morticed into the socket. It rises through chamfered corners to a column with an octagonal knop. The medieval head of the cross has been replaced with a ball finial which has an iron cross head set upon it. The full height of the cross is over 3.5m.

The cross is stabilized by an iron cage and ties. These and the path where it falls within the area of the monument 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: 30034

Legacy System: RSM


Various SMR Officers, Unpublished notes in SMR Office,

End of official listing