Ancient Monuments

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Market cross 70m west of the Church of St Peter and St Paul

A Scheduled Monument in Gringley on the Hill, Nottinghamshire

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Latitude: 53.4079 / 53°24'28"N

Longitude: -0.8952 / 0°53'42"W

OS Eastings: 473538.335001

OS Northings: 390688.704822

OS Grid: SK735906

Mapcode National: GBR QY51.Z2

Mapcode Global: WHFFX.6LYS

Entry Name: Market cross 70m west of the Church of St Peter and St Paul

Scheduled Date: 7 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016790

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29950

County: Nottinghamshire

Civil Parish: Gringley on the Hill

Built-Up Area: Gringley on the Hill

Traditional County: Nottinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Nottinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Gringley-on-the-Hill

Church of England Diocese: Southwell and Nottingham


The monument includes the remains of a market cross located on a small green,
70m west of the Church of St Peter and St Paul. The cross, which is Listed
Grade II, is of stepped form and is medieval in date. It includes four steps,
a socket stone and the remains of a shaft. The four steps are square in plan
with the bottom step measuring approximately 2.5m by 2.5m. The square socket
stone sits on the top of the steps and set into this is an octagonal shaft
which survives to a height of 2.3m. The shaft tapers very slightly to the top
and has a niche carved out on the eastern side. The top of the shaft has been
broken. The surviving height of the steps and shaft is approximately 3.8m.
The surface of the footpath to the south of the cross where it falls within
the monument's protective margin 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 market cross 70m west of the Church of St Peter and St Paul is a good
example of a medieval cross with square steps and an octagonal shaft. The
niche carved on the east side of the shaft is particularly unusual. Situated
on a small green close to the church, it is believed to stand in or near its
original position, and limited activity immediately surrounding the cross
indicates that archaeological deposits relating to the monument's construction
and use are likely to survive intact. The importance of the cross is enhanced
by its continued use as a public monument and amenity from the medieval period
through to the present day.

Source: Historic England

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