Ancient Monuments

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Market cross

A Scheduled Monument in Brandesburton, East Riding of Yorkshire

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Latitude: 53.9122 / 53°54'43"N

Longitude: -0.2994 / 0°17'58"W

OS Eastings: 511799.887681

OS Northings: 447569.156804

OS Grid: TA117475

Mapcode National: GBR VRB6.ZB

Mapcode Global: WHHFY.CXNP

Entry Name: Market cross

Scheduled Date: 24 May 1951

Last Amended: 12 February 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014002

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26570

County: East Riding of Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Brandesburton

Built-Up Area: Brandesburton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Riding of Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Brandesburton St Mary

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes the remains of a medieval stone cross shaft and base,
situated on the village green towards the centre of Brandesburton.
The cross, including the base and shaft combined, survives to a total height
of 4.6m from ground to pinnacle.
The cross shaft is octagonal in section and survives to a height of around 3m,
and has the remains of a very weathered cross head upon the pinnacle
(crocketed finial). Poulson (1840) remarks that `It appears that there are two
standing figures surmounting the cross (back to back), their hands joined in
an attitude of prayer', but they have become too worn to distinguish as such
The shaft base is set into a rectangular stone block measuring 0.76m north-
south by 0.85m east-west, and this, in turn, is set upon three further
tiers of stone, which progressively increase in size, from 1.4m square, to
2.15m, to a final 2.8m square at the base.
The tiered stone setting upon which the shaft is set has been heavily
restored, with the first, broadest base faced with modern concrete and
apparently filled in places by modern brick, and the upper tiers having
original sandstone blocks reset in concrete.
A local market held in Brandesburton by the cross and established during the
19th century gradually fell out of use by the turn of the century.
The cross is also Listed Grade II.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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 consolidated and restored at different periods of time, the
Brandesburton village cross survives in good condition and still retains a
portion of its original cross head, albeit very weathered. It is located in
its original position in the centre of the village and has important local
historical significance.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Poulson, , History and Antiquities of the Seignoury of Holderness: Volume 1284
Currie, Dr E.J., MPPA Site Visit,
Dept. of the Environment, Listed Buildings Description,
Humberside SMR, Sites and Monuments Record Sheet,

Source: Historic England

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