Ancient Monuments

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Market cross at Highburton

A Scheduled Monument in Kirkburton, Kirklees

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Latitude: 53.6182 / 53°37'5"N

Longitude: -1.7126 / 1°42'45"W

OS Eastings: 419104.743

OS Northings: 413550.137

OS Grid: SE191135

Mapcode National: GBR JVHL.0Q

Mapcode Global: WHCB8.NBN3

Entry Name: Market cross at Highburton

Scheduled Date: 26 July 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011850

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23380

County: Kirklees

Civil Parish: Kirkburton

Built-Up Area: Huddersfield

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Kirkburton All Hallows

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument is the market cross located at the junction of Hall Lane and Town
Gate in Highburton village. Its remains include a stepped base or calvary of
four steps surmounted by a socket stone or socle and a decorated cross shaft.
The steps of the calvary are constructed of stapled gritstone slabs and, where
visible, are each approximately 20cm high. The bottom step, which is now
partially hidden, is c.2.5m square. The topmost step is c.1m square. The socle
is a dressed gritstone block with a chamfered upper edge and measures roughly
75cm square and just under 50cm high. It includes a square socket hole which
now holds an 18th century cross shaft. This shaft, which has replaced an
earlier feature, is approximately 2.5m tall by 25cm in diameter and is
octagonal but for the bottom 50cm which is square. The edges of the octagonal
section are decorated with mouldings while the faces between include incised
herringbone ornamentation. The top of the shaft narrows to a neck which is
surmounted by a collar and ball finial. Although the cross shaft is relatively
modern, the rest of the monument is believed to be medieval or early
post medieval in date. The cross is Listed Grade II. Records indicate that
`Burton Market' was in existence by the mid 14th century since details of its
tolls are given in the Wakefield Court Rolls for the years 1353 and 1354.
Several modern features falling within the area of the scheduling are excluded
from the scheduling though the ground underneath them is included. These are
the paved surfaces on two sides of the cross, a wall, a bench, a wastebin and
a telephone kiosk. The cindered area falling within the area of the scheduling
on the remaining two sides of the cross is not excluded from the scheduling as
disturbance to this may damage sensitive archaeological remains.

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 somewhat dilapidated and missing its original shaft, Burton market
cross is still reasonably well preserved and appears to be in its original
location. Its current early modern shaft is an interesting example in the
Classical style.

Source: Historic England


Hill, Angela Shackleton, (1994)
PRN 2417,

Source: Historic England

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