Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Eynsham market cross

A Scheduled Monument in Eynsham, Oxfordshire

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 51.7803 / 51°46'49"N

Longitude: -1.374 / 1°22'26"W

OS Eastings: 443281.938

OS Northings: 209253.847

OS Grid: SP432092

Mapcode National: GBR 7X8.7FZ

Mapcode Global: VHCXL.4JG2

Entry Name: Eynsham market cross

Scheduled Date: 5 July 1954

Last Amended: 18 November 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015170

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28142

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Eynsham

Built-Up Area: Eynsham

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Eynsham

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes the remains of a comparatively early market cross
situated in the square, immediately north of St Leonard's Church. The cross,
which is believed to date to c.1300, lies less than 100m north of the site of
Eynsham Abbey.
The cross has a high, tapering fluted shaft with an ornamented capital on
which the head of the cross (now missing) would have been seated. The ornament
includes a band around the middle of the shaft and floral motifs on alternate
flutes, rising from canopies over figures which are now badly weathered. The
shaft is square socketed into a step base which measures c.2m square. The
shaft itself has been strapped with iron but is otherwise comparatively
unusual in being complete.
The cross has been a focal point within Eynsham since the medieval period and
it continues to have a prominent position in the town.
The cross is Listed Grade II.
Excluded from the scheduling is the road surface where this falls within the
cross's protective margin, 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 Eynsham market cross stands in its original location and the ground
beneath and around its base will contain archaeological evidence relating to
its construction and use. It lies at the centre of the town square and would
have influenced the development of the town plan from c.1300 onwards.

Source: Historic England


PRN 2313, C.A.O., EYNSHAM CROSS, (1980)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Series
Source Date: 1989
SP 40 NW

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.