Ancient Monuments

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Village cross at junction of Church Street and Cross Street

A Scheduled Monument in Hathern, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.7963 / 52°47'46"N

Longitude: -1.2556 / 1°15'20"W

OS Eastings: 450287.73433

OS Northings: 322340.984336

OS Grid: SK502223

Mapcode National: GBR 8KC.MCJ

Mapcode Global: WHDHH.PZ95

Entry Name: Village cross at junction of Church Street and Cross Street

Scheduled Date: 13 June 1968

Last Amended: 15 May 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014518

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21654

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Hathern

Built-Up Area: Hathern

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Hathern St Peter and St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


The monument includes the village cross at the junction of Church Street and
Cross Street, a standing stone cross of medieval and later date. The cross,
which is Listed Grade II*, stands at the junction of two roads and includes a
base consisting of four steps and a socket stone, the shaft, and an ornamental
The steps are square in plan and constructed of ashlar blocks. On the
uppermost step stands the socket stone, which is square in section at the
base. The corners of this large stone block are chamfered so that the top of
the stone is roughly octagonal in section. Set into the centre of the
socket stone is the shaft, of square section at its base, rising through
chamfered corners in tapering octagonal section. The lower half of the shaft
represents the remains of the original medieval shaft, whilst the upper
portion is thought to date from the 19th century, when the cross was restored.
The head of the cross takes the form of a moulded capital and also dates from
the 19th century. The full height of the cross is approximately 5.5m.
The surface of the road immediately surrounding the cross is excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 1 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.

The village cross at the junction of Church Street and Cross Street is a good
example of a medieval standing cross with a stepped base. Situated at the
junction of two roads, it is believed to stand in its original position, and
limited disturbance in the area immediately surrounding the cross indicates
that archaeological deposits relating to the monument's construction and use
are likely to survive intact. While most of the cross survives from medieval
times, its subsequent restoration illustrates its continued function as a
public monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England

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