Ancient Monuments

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Cross in the churchyard of St Oswald's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Barnby Dun with Kirk Sandall, Doncaster

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Latitude: 53.5661 / 53°33'58"N

Longitude: -1.0815 / 1°4'53"W

OS Eastings: 460926.7725

OS Northings: 408117.645

OS Grid: SE609081

Mapcode National: GBR NWW6.NC

Mapcode Global: WHFF1.CM7H

Entry Name: Cross in the churchyard of St Oswald's Church

Scheduled Date: 11 September 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012938

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27210

County: Doncaster

Civil Parish: Barnby Dun with Kirk Sandall

Built-Up Area: Doncaster

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): South Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Kirk Sandall and Edenthorpe Church of the Good Shepherd

Church of England Diocese: Sheffield


The monument is located roughly 10m south of St Oswald's Church and includes
the remains of a medieval churchyard cross. The remains comprise the socle or
socket stone of the cross and an 18th century sundial whose column has
replaced the original cross shaft and head.
The medieval socle consists of a dressed octagonal magnesian limestone block
with pyramidal stops on alternate faces. It has a diameter of approximately
60cm and a height of 30cm. In the top is a 30cm square socket hole which is
somewhat larger than the current sundial shaft which measures roughly 25cm
square at the base. The sundial shaft stands approximately 1m high and is an
octagonal column with a square pedestal and a fluted capital which appears to
have been decorated though the decoration is now too weathered to interpret.
In the top can be seen the peg-holes for the missing sundial gnomen which
records indicate dated to 1714. At the foot of the cross at its north east
corner is a block of magnesian limestone which may have been added to provide
a step up to the sundial. The cross is Listed Grade II.
The graveslab lying within the area of the scheduling is excluded from the

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 cross shaft and head, the cross in St Oswald's
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
Morris, J E, West Riding of Yorkshire, (1932), 293
Shackleton Hill, Angela, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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