Ancient Monuments

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Medieval cross base south west of St Mary the Virgin's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Goldsborough, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 53.9993 / 53°59'57"N

Longitude: -1.4147 / 1°24'52"W

OS Eastings: 438465.851

OS Northings: 456072.704

OS Grid: SE384560

Mapcode National: GBR LQK6.J3

Mapcode Global: WHD9M.7QLY

Entry Name: Medieval cross base south west of St Mary the Virgin's Church

Scheduled Date: 18 November 1960

Last Amended: 24 November 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019079

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28255

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Goldsborough

Built-Up Area: Goldsborough

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Knaresborough

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes the medieval cross base situated in Goldsborough
The cross base is a large cylindrical block carved from a single piece of
stone. It is 1.3m in diameter and 0.7m high. There is a shallow circular
socket in the top 0.15m deep and 0.7m diameter. This socket would have
supported a cross shaft which has now been lost. The base stands on a plinth
2.6m square formed by long narrow stone slabs along the edge. The centre of
the plinth, around the cross base, has been laid with concrete.
Around 1910 human bones and a small Viking enamelled strap end were found
beneath the cross base. The strap end is now in Ripon Cathedral. Documents
dating to the 16th century indicate that annual rent payments were made at the
base stone.
The kerbstones around the footpath are 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 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 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 sculpted 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 steped base,
buttresses supporting a vaulted canopy, in turn carrying either shaft and head
or a pinnacled spire. Standing crosses contribute significantly 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.
Although the cross shaft is missing, the medieval cross base south west of St
Mary the Virgin's Church survives well. Its survival and reference to the base
acting as a focal point for rent payments in the 16th century is of additional
interest as evidence of its continuing importance within the locality over

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Archaeological Journal' in Archaeological Journal, , Vol. VOL XVI, (), 197

Source: Historic England

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