Ancient Monuments

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Hanging Stone or Watersheddles Cross

A Scheduled Monument in Keighley, Bradford

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Latitude: 53.8407 / 53°50'26"N

Longitude: -2.0452 / 2°2'42"W

OS Eastings: 397123.341296

OS Northings: 438275.504563

OS Grid: SD971382

Mapcode National: GBR GS50.0Y

Mapcode Global: WHB7T.KQ9H

Entry Name: Hanging Stone or Watersheddles Cross

Scheduled Date: 17 October 1930

Last Amended: 16 March 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009495

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23747

County: Bradford

Civil Parish: Keighley

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Oakworth Christ Church

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument is a medieval standing cross known as Hanging Stone or
Watersheddles Cross. It is located on open moorland north east of
Watersheddles Reservoir and consists of a rough block of millstone grit which
now rests against an outcrop of bedrock at an angle of 50 to 60 degrees. It
measures 1.82m long and is of rectangular cross section measuring 0.6m by
0.4m. On the west face of the cross the inscription HANGING STONE OR
WATERSHEDDLES CROSS was carved during the 19th century. `Waterschedles crosse'
is mentioned in a medieval document dated 1327-77 during the period when it
functioned as one of the boundary stones marking the division between the
diocese of York and the diocese of Lichfield.

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.

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. 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.

Despite damage to the upper part of the monument, Hanging Stone or
Watersheddles Cross survives reasonably well. It is mentioned in a 14th
century document and is a rare survival in Lancashire of an in-situ medieval
ecclesiastical property boundary marker.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hulton, A, 'Chetham Society' in , (), 333-4
SMR No. 3582, Lancs SMR, Watersheddles Cross or Hanging Stone, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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