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Village cross with sundial and stocks

A Scheduled Monument in Ripley, North Yorkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.0398 / 54°2'23"N

Longitude: -1.5679 / 1°34'4"W

OS Eastings: 428397.039308

OS Northings: 460515.985614

OS Grid: SE283605

Mapcode National: GBR KPHQ.CL

Mapcode Global: WHC86.WQLB

Entry Name: Village cross with sundial and stocks

Scheduled Date: 6 March 1953

Last Amended: 10 July 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013299

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26928

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Ripley

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Details

The monument includes the village cross and adjacent stocks which stand in a
cobbled square in Ripley. The cross has a square base of five steps, the
lowest being 3m wide, all made of worn gritstone blocks tied together with
iron staples. The base supports a plain octagonal shaft 1.25m high, socketed
into a square stone plinth with a chamfered top. The shaft is surmounted by a
square slab carrying a cubiform block, with chamfered corners. On each
cardinal face is the remains of the lead for the gnomon of a sundial. The base
is 15th century and the shaft and sundial a later addition of the 18th
century. The stocks stand 0.5m to the south of the base of the cross and
comprise two stone uprights 0.6m high and 1.38m apart. There are grooves on
the inside faces, slotted into which is a wooden two-piece footboard
containing four roughly oval holes now fastened with iron staples so that the
upper piece can no longer move. The stocks are thought to be contemporary with
the cross shaft and sundial, and their positioning close to the base of the
cross is possibly so that the victim sat on the lower step.
Both the cross and stocks are Listed Grade II.

MAP EXTRACT
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 only the base of the medieval cross remains, it survives well and
stands in its original site. The ground around the base is largely undisturbed
and will provide important evidence of its original setting. The monument also
retains some unusual later features in the form of an elaborate polyhedral
sundial and a pair of adjacent stocks. The presence of both a sundial and
stocks at the monument indicates the continued use of the cross as a social
focus from the medieval period into the 18th century and beyond.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Holbrook, M , 'Science Preserved; a Directory of Scientific Instuments in UK' in Sundials, (1990)
Other
DOE, Listed building description,

Source: Historic England

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