Ancient Monuments

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Cross in the churchyard of St Laurence's Church, Adwick le Street

A Scheduled Monument in Adwick le Street & Carcroft, Doncaster

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Latitude: 53.5711 / 53°34'15"N

Longitude: -1.1845 / 1°11'4"W

OS Eastings: 454099.1905

OS Northings: 408585.976

OS Grid: SE540085

Mapcode National: GBR NW54.BL

Mapcode Global: WHDCV.SH4P

Entry Name: Cross in the churchyard of St Laurence's Church, Adwick le Street

Scheduled Date: 6 September 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012935

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27207

County: Doncaster

Electoral Ward/Division: Adwick le Street & Carcroft

Built-Up Area: Adwick le Street

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): South Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Adwick-le-Street St Laurence

Church of England Diocese: Sheffield


The monument is located 5m south of St Laurence's Church and includes the
remains of a medieval churchyard cross. The remains comprise the plinth, socle
and shaft of the cross together with the foundation platform which has been
exposed on the west side by the construction of a path through the churchyard.
Formerly the shaft would have been at least twice its present height and would
have included a cross head. These components, however, are now missing.
The foundation platform consists of a double course of magnesian limestone
`bricks' and is surmounted by a single layer of larger slabs which together
form a plinth measuring approximately 1m square. Surmounting the plinth is the
socle or socket stone which is a dressed magnesian limestone block measuring
approximately 65cm square by 50cm high. The bottom half of the socle is
square while the upper section is octagonal. In the top is a 30cm square
socket hole into which is fitted the bottom section of a square section cross
shaft with chamfered corners and a pedestal. This surviving section is roughly
70cm tall and in the top are a number of peg holes which indicate that the
shaft has been reused as a sundial, probably in the 18th or 19th century. The
gnomen of the sundial is now missing. A single grave slab which lies within
the area of the scheduling is not included in the scheduling. The surface of
the modern path on the west side of the cross is excluded although the ground
beneath it is included. 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 cross head, the cross in St Laurence's churchyard is a good
example of a simple churchyard cross still in its original location. Its
moulded socle is well-preserved and its interest is enhanced by the visible
foundation platform underneath. The cross's 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


On EH file, Shackleton Hill, Angela , Churchyard cross, Adwick le Street, (1994)
South Yorkshire SMR, PI 384, Churchyard cross, Adwick le Street,

Source: Historic England

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