Ancient Monuments

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Medieval standing cross on Tanpit Lane, 150m west of Wentbank House

A Scheduled Monument in Stubbs Walden, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 53.6406 / 53°38'26"N

Longitude: -1.1732 / 1°10'23"W

OS Eastings: 454760.444478

OS Northings: 416329.213254

OS Grid: SE547163

Mapcode National: GBR NV7B.TN

Mapcode Global: WHDCG.YRHD

Entry Name: Medieval standing cross on Tanpit Lane, 150m west of Wentbank House

Scheduled Date: 18 March 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017825

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30132

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Stubbs Walden

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Womersley St Martin

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes the remains of a medieval cross located at the junction
between Tanpit Lane and the road past Wentbank House to Walden Stubbs.
The cross, which is Listed Grade II, is sited 550m north east of the core of
Norton Priory and 150m north of the bridge across the River Went, and is
thought to be a wayside cross related to the priory. It survives as a socketed
cross base with the 0.35m tall weathered stub of the cross shaft. The base is
0.7m square, standing 0.25m above the modern ground surface and is carved from
a single piece of limestone with chamfered corners producing an octagonal
upper face. The cross shaft stub is central and 0.25m square. The cross is not
lined up with the adjacent roads, but is orientated to the cardinal compass
points. There is an Ordnance Survey bench mark carved on the southern face of
the base.

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 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.

Tanpit Lane cross is a good example of a medieval cross still standing in its
original position. Its importance is enhanced by its proximity to Norton
Priory, which lies just across the border formed by the River Went in South
Yorkshire. Absence of later restoration and limited disturbance of the area
immediately surrounding the cross indicate that archaeological deposits
relating to the monument's construction and use will survive intact.

Source: Historic England

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