Ancient Monuments

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Market cross 8m west of the Market House

A Scheduled Monument in Brigstock, Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.4575 / 52°27'26"N

Longitude: -0.6086 / 0°36'30"W

OS Eastings: 494643.291

OS Northings: 285299.936

OS Grid: SP946852

Mapcode National: GBR DWL.WGY

Mapcode Global: VHFNM.DHMG

Entry Name: Market cross 8m west of the Market House

Scheduled Date: 5 December 1928

Last Amended: 19 March 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017623

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29719

County: Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Brigstock

Built-Up Area: Brigstock

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Brigstock St Andrew with Stanion St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough


The monument includes the remains of the standing stone cross located some 8m
west of the Market House at the junction of Hall Hill and Church Street.
The pitched stone cobbling surrounding the cross is also included in the
scheduling. This cobbling is thought to represent part of an early surface of
the market place, perhaps dating to the 16th century and will retain buried
archaeological deposits relating both to the cross and to the market.

The market cross is thought to occupy its original position. The cross base
and socket stone are believed to belong to the medieval period, although the
architectural style of the shaft suggests a 16th century date for this portion
of the cross, replacing an earlier shaft. The replacement of the shaft may
have been carried out as part of a remodelling of the market place involving
the laying of the cobbled surface.

The cross base includes four steps of mortared block construction with lipped
treads, decreasing in size from about 3.8m square to 1.25m square and standing
to a height of approximately 1.22m. The plain splayed socket stone is
approximately 0.7m square by 0.55m high. The bevelled shaft of the cross is
morticed into the socket stone and is about 0.4m square with a moulded
capital. The cross head has four faces and carries the arms of France and
England. The initials of Elizabeth I, Queen Anne, Queen Victoria and Elizabeth
II, together with the dates 1586, 1705, 1778 and 1887, are incised on the
faces of the shaft. The cross head is surmounted by a ball finial into which
is mortared a plain iron weather vane. The total height of the cross is
approximately 4m.

The cross was restored between 1900 and 1928 when the steps were rebuilt and
it is thought that the weather vane may have been added at this time. Further
restoration work was carried out in 1986.

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.

The remains of the market cross at Brigstock represent a good example of a
standing cross located in or near its original position, and set within a
preserved area of an early marketplace surface. Limited activity in the area
surrounding the cross indicates that archaeological deposits relating to the
monument's construction and use in this location will survive as buried
features. Whilst the base of the cross has survived from medieval times, the
16th century shaft, together with subsequent restoration work illustrates the
continued function of the cross as a public monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England


FMW report, Armstrong L, AM107/2, (1979)
FMW report, Dodd A, AM107/4, (1989)

Source: Historic England

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