Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross at the Parish Church of St Luke and All Saints

A Scheduled Monument in Darrington, Wakefield

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Latitude: 53.6757 / 53°40'32"N

Longitude: -1.2673 / 1°16'2"W

OS Eastings: 448495.289425

OS Northings: 420166.154248

OS Grid: SE484201

Mapcode National: GBR MTLY.F2

Mapcode Global: WHDC7.HVQZ

Entry Name: Churchyard cross at the Parish Church of St Luke and All Saints

Scheduled Date: 30 June 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012875

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23378

County: Wakefield

Civil Parish: Darrington

Built-Up Area: Darrington

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Darrington St Luke and All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument is a medieval churchyard cross whose remains include a magnesian
limestone cross base or socle located in the churchyard 2m south of the church
porch. Originally there would also have been a shaft and cross head but these
components are now missing. In their place is the fluted shaft of an octagonal
sundial which dates to the post-medieval or early modern period.
The moulded socle is roughly 90cm square at the base and stands approximately
50cm high. The square bottom section has chamfered corners with rounded stops
while the upper section comprises two octagonal steps with chamfered upper
edges. The upper face is roughly 75cm in diameter and includes a rectangular
socket hole which measures 25cm by 30cm and currently houses the sundial. The
shaft of the sundial is approximately 80cm tall and includes the peg holes for
the missing gnomon. The cross is Listed Grade II.
A magnesian limestone cross fragment, found in the churchyard in 1971, is
believed to have come from this cross.
Excluded from the scheduling are the gravestones and modern paths that lie
within the area of the scheduling though the ground underneath is included.

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 shaft and cross head, the cross in St Luke and All Saints
churchyard is a good example of a simple churchyard cross which appears to be
in its original location. Its moulded socle is reasonably well-preserved and
its proximity to the church suggests that it played an important role in
religious festivals during the Middle Ages though it may alternatively have
had a sepulchral function.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Medieval Archaeology' in Medieval Archaeology, , Vol. XV, (1971), 175
Hill, Angela Shackleton, (1994)
PRN 2405 and 2485,

Source: Historic England

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