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Stockton market cross immediately south of Town Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Stockton Town Centre, Stockton-on-Tees

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.5639 / 54°33'49"N

Longitude: -1.3129 / 1°18'46"W

OS Eastings: 444527.775002

OS Northings: 518956.065002

OS Grid: NZ445189

Mapcode National: GBR MH8N.KR

Mapcode Global: WHD6Y.TK03

Entry Name: Stockton market cross immediately south of Town Hall

Scheduled Date: 7 January 1952

Last Amended: 9 April 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019916

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34583

County: Stockton-on-Tees

Electoral Ward/Division: Stockton Town Centre

Built-Up Area: Stockton-on-Tees

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Stockton-on-Tees

Church of England Diocese: Durham

Details

The monument includes Stockton market cross, which is situated on High Street,
to the north of Market Place, in Stockton-On-Tees town centre. The monument
includes a square stone base of six steps, measuring 5.7m square at the base.
Mounted on the square base is a Tuscan column with fairly pronounced entasis,
on pedestal surmounted by entablature and urn. The market cross was erected
in 1768 on the site of an earlier cross said to have been a covered square
cross with open arches on each side.
Stockton market cross is Listed Grade II*.
All paving slabs where they fall within the protective margin are excluded
from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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.

The Stockton market cross illustrates the development of the medieval market
cross concept in the 18th century, replacing its religious iconography with
that symbolising civic pride in the form of the classical orders. Associated
archaeological deposits of the current cross and its predecessor will be
preserved below the present square base.

Source: Historic England

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