Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Market cross

A Scheduled Monument in Chichester, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8365 / 50°50'11"N

Longitude: -0.7792 / 0°46'45"W

OS Eastings: 486061.950823

OS Northings: 104819.340179

OS Grid: SU860048

Mapcode National: GBR DGS.FTQ

Mapcode Global: FRA 968W.D9L

Entry Name: Market cross

Scheduled Date: 13 October 1927

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005890

English Heritage Legacy ID: WS 24

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Chichester

Built-Up Area: Chichester

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Chichester St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The Market Cross, 115m north-east of the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17/10/14. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a medieval market cross situated at the centre of Chichester where North Street, East Street, South Street and West Street meet. It was built by Edward Story, Bishop of Chichester to an elaborate design in about 1500.

The Market Cross is a vaulted octagonal building with an open arcade. It has 8 buttress piers at the angles which serve to sustain a superincumbent wall, over eight arches, and adorned with panelling, rosettes, shields with armorial bearings, an embattled parapet and pinnacles. The stonework converges from the top of each buttress to the centre, where the eight unite and continue to an apex. A belfry and clock were added in 1724.

The Market Cross underwent alteration and restoration in 1746 and in the late 20th century. It is thought to have originally stood in a large market square but this has now been encroached upon by buildings.

The upstanding stone remains are Grade I listed.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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. They were used within settlements as places for preaching, public proclamation and penance, as well as defining rights of sanctuary. 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.

Despite some later alterations and repairs, The Market Cross at Chichester is well preserved. It is a remarkably elaborate building and a fine example of its type. It provides a significant testament to the history of Chichester. As a monument accessible to the public it forms an important recreational and educational resource.

Source: Historic England


West Sussex HER 4740 - MWS6199. NMR SU80SE161. PastScape 1405313. LBS 299793.

Source: Historic England

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