Ancient Monuments

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Standing cross

A Scheduled Monument in Barlborough, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.2903 / 53°17'25"N

Longitude: -1.2872 / 1°17'13"W

OS Eastings: 447614.5795

OS Northings: 377274.6415

OS Grid: SK476772

Mapcode National: GBR MZGD.47

Mapcode Global: WHDF5.6KBF

Entry Name: Standing cross

Scheduled Date: 9 April 1981

Last Amended: 5 May 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011756

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23386

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Barlborough

Built-Up Area: Barlborough

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Barlborough St James

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument is the standing cross located at the junction of High Street,
Church Street and Park Street, Barlborough. The remains include the sandstone
base of a medieval cross, and the components of an 18th century cross which
include the cross shaft, the socket stone or socle and the step beneath the
socle. These components have replaced original medieval features which may
have been removed during the 16th or 17th century by religious iconoclasts.
The medieval base, which is octagonal and forms the bottom step of the current
cross, has an overall diameter of about 2m and is surrounded by bollards set
into a modern paved traffic island. The upper step and socle are also
octagonal and the latter has pyramid stops on alternate faces. Together, the
steps and socle are approximately 1.5m high. The Tuscan style columnar shaft
sits on a square pedestal with chamfered angles which is leaded into a square
socket hole. The shaft is c.2m high and surmounted by a rectangular knop above
which is a ball finial and a metal cross. Sundials with intact metal gnomons
are inlaid in the south, west and east faces of the knop and a surveyor's
bench mark is inscribed into the south side of the upper step. In addition to
being scheduled, the cross is Listed Grade II*. The traffic island and the
surrounding modern road surface are excluded from the scheduling although the
ground underneath is included.

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.

Though missing its original shaft, socle and cross head, the Barlborough cross
is important because it is still in its original location and thus preserves
the medieval land surface underneath. The later components are very
well-preserved and are of art-historical importance in their own right.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Mee, A, Derbyshire, (1937), 37
Pevsner, N, Williamson, E, The Buildings of England: Derbyshire, (1978), 83
Hill, Angela Shackleton, (1994)
Pamphlet, A History of Barlborough,
Watercolour after S.H. Grimm, Pickering, G, Barlborough Cross, 1785,

Source: Historic England

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