Ancient Monuments

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Medieval church site and churchyard cross, 10m south and 40m south east of St Michael's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Barningham, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.4891 / 54°29'20"N

Longitude: -1.8698 / 1°52'11"W

OS Eastings: 408534.188755

OS Northings: 510430.110386

OS Grid: NZ085104

Mapcode National: GBR HJDJ.0J

Mapcode Global: WHC5Y.7FWD

Entry Name: Medieval church site and churchyard cross, 10m south and 40m south east of St Michael's Church

Scheduled Date: 24 September 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016877

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32062

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Barningham

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Barningham St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes the building platform on which Barningham medieval
church stood and the socket stone of a churchyard cross, both situated in the
churchyard to the south of the present Church of St Michael. The monument is
in two separate areas of protection. The building platform of the medieval
church is situated 10m south of the nave wall of the present church. It is
best defined on its north east corner where the platform is visible as a 0.5m
high bank, 9m north-south by 14m east-west. The surface of the platform has
four medieval recumbent gravestones, one of which has an inscription dating it
to 1503, all of which are thought to be in their original positions. The
centre of the platform is occupied by a family tomb for which the last dated
burial is 1758. Other graves on the platform postdate the demolition of the
medieval church in 1816, but predate the 20th century. Despite some
disturbance by later burials, the platform will retain significant information
on the form and structure of the medieval church.
The socket stone, which is situated 5m west of the south east corner entrance
to the churchyard is 0.7m by 0.6m and 0.4m high. The socket is centrally
located and measures 0.25m by 0.2m and 0.1m deep. The socket stone in its
original position.
The socket stone, and the inscribed recumbent gravestone are Listed Grade II.
The earliest physical evidence of the medieval church is the scalloped capital
of a 12th century pillar piscina now built into the present church. The
earliest documentary evidence dates from 1213 when Hugh Bardolf claimed the
advowson (the right of presentation to benefice) of the church against the
Prior of Malton. In 1214 Hugh Bardolf quit his claim on the advowson and it
passed to the canons of Malton. The church was then passed to Guisborough
Priory, which held it until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540, when
it passed to the Crown. The Crown held it until 1874 when it was given to the
Bishops of Ripon. The medieval church was demolished in 1816 and a new church
erected to the north.
The surface of the metalled path, where it impinges on the area of the
monument, is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is

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 parish church is a building, usually of roughly rectangular outline and
containing a range of furnishings and fittings appropriate to its use for
Christian worship by a secular community, whose members gather in it on
Sundays and on the occasion of religious festivals. Children are initiated
into the Christian religion at the church's font and the dead are buried in
its churchyard. Parish churches were designed for congregational worship and
are generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provides
accommodation for the laity, and the chancel, which is the main domain of the
priest and contains the principal altar. Either or both parts are sometimes
provided with aisles, giving additional accommodation or spaces for additional
altars. Most parish churches also possess towers, generally at the west
end, but central towers at the crossing of nave and chancel are not uncommon
and some churches have a free-standing or irregularly sited tower. Many parish
churches also possess transepts at the crossing of chancel and nave, and south
or north porches are also common. The main periods of parish church foundation
were in the 10th to 11th and 19th centuries. Most medieval churches were
rebuilt and modified on a number of occasions and hence the visible fabric of
the church will be of several different dates, with in some cases little
fabric of the first church being still easily visible.
Parish churches are found throughout England. Their distribution reflects the
density of population at the time they were founded. In regions of dispersed
settlement parishes were often large and churches less numerous. The densest
clusters of parish churches were found in thriving medieval towns. A survey of
1625 reported the existence of nearly 9000 parish churches in England. New
churches built in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries increased numbers to
around 18,000 of which 17,000 remain in ecclesiastical use. Parish churches
have always been major features of the landscape and a major focus of life for
their parishioners. They provide important insights into medieval and later
population levels or economic cycles, religious activity, artistic endeavour
and technical achievement. A significant number of surviving examples are
identified to be nationally important.

A standing cross is a free standing upright structure, usually of stone,
mostly erected during the medieval period (mid-10th to 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 of
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, such 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, Queen Eleanor, who had
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 and buttresses supporting a vaulted canopy, which in turn
carried either a shaft and head or 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.
Barningham medieval church, though disturbed by later burials, survives as a
distinct building platform with medieval gravestones thought to be in their
original position. Significant information on the original form, structure and
history of the church will survive beneath the present ground surface. The
socket stone is well preserved and in its original position.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of North Riding of Yorkshire, (1914), 42

Source: Historic England

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