Ancient Monuments

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Standing cross at Emley

A Scheduled Monument in Denby Dale, Kirklees

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Latitude: 53.6137 / 53°36'49"N

Longitude: -1.6334 / 1°38'0"W

OS Eastings: 424352.306

OS Northings: 413074.65

OS Grid: SE243130

Mapcode National: GBR KV1N.5B

Mapcode Global: WHCB9.WFDK

Entry Name: Standing cross at Emley

Scheduled Date: 26 July 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011849

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23379

County: Kirklees

Civil Parish: Denby Dale

Built-Up Area: Emley

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Emley St Michael the Archangel

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument is the standing cross located at the junction of Church Street,
Upper Lane and Beaumont Street in Emley village. Its remains include a square
plinth surmounted by a cross base or socle and the bottom section of the cross
The plinth is partially obscured by the modern road surface but appears to
comprise at least three layers of stone blocks or pavings which stand on an
old road surface visible round one edge of the plinth. It is c.1.75m square by
70cm high and has a pronounced batter. The upper layer contains a single iron
staple and is of slab construction. It is set back from the line of the lower
sections, giving the plinth a slightly stepped appearance.
The socle or cross base is a 60cm square block with chamfered upper corners
and slight rounded stops on alternate faces. The latter appear to be decorated
but this detail is obscured by the whitewash currently covering the monument.
The socle is 30cm high and is surmounted by the lower section of a 20cm square
cross shaft measuring approximately 70cm tall. The shaft is slightly waisted
and has chamfered edges which close towards the base to form a cushion-like
pedestal. The top is bevelled and contains a hole for the pin which would
formerly have fixed the missing top section of the shaft. This missing
section, which may have included a cross head, is likely to have been more
slender than the surviving section and may have been made of wood rather than
stone. The cross is Listed Grade II.
Excluded from the scheduling are the surrounding modern road surfaces and the
road sign next to the cross although the ground beneath these features is

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.

Although not complete, the Emley cross appears to be in situ and is reasonably
well preserved. It either functioned as a wayside cross or may, alternatively,
have originated as a medieval market cross.

Source: Historic England


Hill, Angela Shackleton, (1994)
PRN 2408,

Source: Historic England

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