Ancient Monuments

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Medieval standing cross and early 20th century memorial cross

A Scheduled Monument in Hickleton, Doncaster

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Latitude: 53.5423 / 53°32'32"N

Longitude: -1.2716 / 1°16'17"W

OS Eastings: 448363.607

OS Northings: 405314.325

OS Grid: SE483053

Mapcode National: GBR MWKG.HX

Mapcode Global: WHDD0.F7P8

Entry Name: Medieval standing cross and early 20th century memorial cross

Scheduled Date: 27 February 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012155

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27212

County: Doncaster

Civil Parish: Hickleton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): South Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Hickleton St Wilfrid

Church of England Diocese: Sheffield


The monument includes the remains of a medieval standing cross and the
early 20th century socket stone, shaft and cross head which now surmount
it. The later features have replaced original medieval components which
are now missing, possibly as a result of post-medieval iconoclasm.

The medieval remains comprise a stepped base or calvary and a foundation
platform which is visible in places beneath the calvary. Both are
octagonal and have a maximum diameter of approximately 3.5m. The calvary
rises to a height of roughly 1.6m and consists of five steps constructed
of dressed magnesian limestone blocks. Although some of the material
appears to be original, some elements are more modern and indicate that
the calvary has been restored whereas the foundation platform, which is
constructed of small limestone `bricks', appears to be entirely medieval.

The modern components include a double socket stone or socle decorated
with bas-relief Gothic inscriptions. Both socles are octagonal and,
together, measure approximately 0.8m high and 1m in diameter. The
inscriptions are divided between panels formed by the dressed faces of
the stones. In each case, the north and south faces are blank. On the
west side, the inscription on the smaller top socle reads `May 6th 1910'.
On the east side it reads `Erected by Charles Lindley, Viscount Halifax:
his (?) and friends'. On the bottom socle, the inscription on the west
side reads `To Edward VII: King of England: in memory of the past' while
that on the east side reads `Grant him O Lord eternal rest and let light
perpetual shine upon him'.

Surmounting the socle is an octagonal shaft which has a diameter of
roughly 20cm and rises to a height of about 3m inclusive of the moulded
and decorated cross head. The cross head bears the Lindley crest on the
east side and a figural carving of the Madonna and Child on the west side.
The cross stands on a flat-topped circular mound which has a total
diameter of approximately 7.5m and is included in the scheduling.

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.

Though missing its original shaft, socle and cross head, the stepped calvary
of the Hickleton cross is a reasonably well preserved and visually impressive
example which is still in its original location and therefore preserves not
only its medieval foundations but also the medieval land surface underneath.
When constructed, it would have played an important role in religious
festivals and other aspects of village life. Its importance is increased by
its relationship to a second cross whose remains are located at the opposite
end of the village. The modern components are of additional interest both in
art-historical terms and because they can be directly related to a specific
historical event, the death of Edward VII.

Source: Historic England


Hill, Angela Shackleton, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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