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Monk Bretton standing cross

A Scheduled Monument in Monk Bretton, Barnsley

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.5663 / 53°33'58"N

Longitude: -1.4548 / 1°27'17"W

OS Eastings: 436204.247668

OS Northings: 407881.929752

OS Grid: SE362078

Mapcode National: GBR LW86.T9

Mapcode Global: WHDCQ.MMFC

Entry Name: Monk Bretton standing cross

Scheduled Date: 1 May 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013765

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23395

County: Barnsley

Electoral Ward/Division: Monk Bretton

Built-Up Area: Barnsley

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): South Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Monk Bretton St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Leeds

Details

The monument includes the remains of a medieval standing cross and comprises
the calvary or stepped base of the cross, the medieval socle or socket stone,
the modern socket stone and the 19th century shaft which has been converted to
a lamp post. This shaft has replaced the medieval cross head and shaft which
are now missing. The modern socket stone is made of concrete and was possibly
inserted when the electric light fittings were added earlier this century.
The calvary comprises four octagonal sandstone steps with a base diameter of
approximately 3m and a total height of 1m. The original medieval socle
measures approximately 70cm square and 40cm high and is chamfered round its
upper half. The modern concrete socle is broadly similar in appearance though
slightly taller than the original while the shaft, at c.1.75m tall, is thought
to be somewhat shorter than the original shaft would have been. The current
shaft is a tapering column with a cuboid pedestal and capital whose corners
merge with the shaft via small pyramid stops. The lamp standard is fixed to
the capital by riveted plates and appears no longer to be functioning. The
cross is Listed Grade II and is believed to be a medieval market cross. The
modern road surface surrounding the cross is excluded from the scheduling
though the ground underneath is included.

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.

Though missing its original cross shaft and head, the base of the Monk Bretton
cross is a well preserved and visually impressive example of a stepped calvary
with an intact medieval socle. Its importance is increased by its survival in
its original location.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Hill, Angela Shackleton, (1994)
PI 341,

Source: Historic England

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