Ancient Monuments

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Linton churchyard cross and sundial

A Scheduled Monument in Grassington, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.0649 / 54°3'53"N

Longitude: -1.9937 / 1°59'37"W

OS Eastings: 400506.838492

OS Northings: 463216.463645

OS Grid: SE005632

Mapcode National: GBR GPJF.5L

Mapcode Global: WHB6W.B3V3

Entry Name: Linton churchyard cross and sundial

Scheduled Date: 7 July 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012607

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24533

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Grassington

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


The monument is situated on the north side of the parish Church of St
Michael and All Angels at Linton in Craven. The limestone and gritstone
monument includes a two tier stone base clamped with iron staples set in lead
surmounted by a shaft which has been used to hold a sundial. The base tier
measures 1.7m square although only the north and east sides are visible above
the ground surface. The tier above includes four blocks of stone and measures
1m by 1m with a height of 0.2m. The socket stone measures 0.51m by 0.51m and
0.3m high with a vertical ridge incised on the east face. The square shaft has
angled corners and reaches a height of 0.86m and width of 0.22m widening
slightly toward its top. The shaft, which once held a sundial, appears to be a
later addition to the cross base, replacing the original cross shaft. The east
side of the plinth rests upon a stone block which in turn covers the west end
of a narrow grave slab with a brass plaque inscribed: `Here lyeth the body of
Robert West Anno Domini 1637 May 16'. The sundial and grave slab are 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.

Although the shaft of this cross appears to be a later addition, the
stepped base survives in its original location beside this early Christian

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Wright, J E, The Parish Church of St Michael and All Angels, Linton in Craven, (1991), 22

Source: Historic England

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