Ancient Monuments

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West Hauxwell churchyard cross

A Scheduled Monument in West Hauxwell, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3329 / 54°19'58"N

Longitude: -1.7468 / 1°44'48"W

OS Eastings: 416559.641089

OS Northings: 493069.927545

OS Grid: SE165930

Mapcode National: GBR JL7B.MJ

Mapcode Global: WHC6S.4CF4

Entry Name: West Hauxwell churchyard cross

Scheduled Date: 20 March 1947

Last Amended: 23 December 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010551

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24522

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: West Hauxwell

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


The cross is situated amid gravestones to the south of St Oswald's Church.
The monument includes a cross shaft 1.24m high, 0.3m wide at its base tapering
to 0.14 and 0.15m thick. The shaft is firmly set into a socket stone although
it leans slightly to the east. The socket stone is 0.65m high, 0.54m wide and
0.27m thick at its base. The head appears to have been a wheel cross but is
much damaged and eroded. The cross is covered with carved interlacing work,
the detail on the west face being the most distinct. The panel on the front
measures 0.8m by 0.55m and although the inscription is no longer legible, it
is reported to have bourne the words `Crux Sancti Jacobi' which is considered
to be associated with the seventh century James the Deacon, one of the first
Christian missionaries in the north of England.
The monument has been dated by the antiquarian W G Collingwood as late tenth
century or early 11th century. He describes the decoration as Anglo-Danish
with a midland influence. The cross is Listed Grade II.

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.

This is a well preserved example of a early medieval churchyard cross with
strong local associations.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Collingwood, W G, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in Anglian and Anglo-Danish Sculpture in the North Riding Yorkshire, (), 380
Collingwood, W G, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in Anglian and Anglo-Danish Sculpture in the North Riding Yorkshire, (), 380

Source: Historic England

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