Ancient Monuments

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Garstang market cross

A Scheduled Monument in Garstang, Lancashire

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Latitude: 53.9001 / 53°54'0"N

Longitude: -2.7744 / 2°46'27"W

OS Eastings: 349210.852542

OS Northings: 445159.973882

OS Grid: SD492451

Mapcode National: GBR 9R2B.4N

Mapcode Global: WH850.C72F

Entry Name: Garstang market cross

Scheduled Date: 27 February 1957

Last Amended: 18 May 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012646

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23784

County: Lancashire

Civil Parish: Garstang

Built-Up Area: Garstang

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire

Church of England Parish: Garstang St Thomas

Church of England Diocese: Blackburn


The monument includes Garstang market cross located in the Market Place in
front of the Royal Oak Hotel. It is constructed of sandstone and consists of a
base, socket stone, shaft, knop and head, and measures approximately 5m in
height. The base is medieval in date and comprises a flight of three steps
which are octagonal in plan. On the centre of the base is the square socket
stone. It has undecorated panels on each face and a moulded top. The shaft is
a circular tapering Doric column with an enrichment based on alternate eggs
and arrowheads, known as egg and dart decoration, around the knop at the top.
The head of the cross is a simple sandstone half globe.
The original cross shaft was removed in 1754 because of strong local feelings
against Roman Catholics. It was replaced by the present obelisk which, in
1897, was taken down and rebuilt, with a few alterations, as a jubilee
memorial to commemorate Queen Victoria's 60th year on the throne.
All kerbstones, cobbles and railings are excluded from the scheduling but the
ground beneath these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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 some of the monument's fabric is post medieval, Garstang medieval
market cross stands in its original location and retains its original base. It
is a rare survival in Lancashire of an in situ medieval market cross.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Taylor, H, The Ancient Crosses and Holy Wells of Lancashire, (1906), 276-8
Morris,R., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Standing Crosses, (1990)
SMR No. 379, Lancs SMR, Market Cross, Garstang, (1984)

Source: Historic England

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