Doncaster, Hall Cross, Yorkshire, West Riding

Feature Sets (2)

Description

As seen in August 2012, the ‘cross’ is an eye-catcher at the south end of South Parade; the fake inscription about 10 feet up the main shaft is weathering; there is no vestige of any twelfth-century material.

History

The cross was rebuilt by the corporation in 1793 by “Henry Heaton Esq. Mayor”, whose name is on the base (not seen).  The cross was rebuilt from a former cross which carried (as does the present version) a memorial inscription to Otes de Tilly, steward of Conisbrough for the Warenne family.  He was active around 1147 to 1190, holding knights' fees from the Lascy family in 1166; his son was called Otes too (Clay 1949). The memorial seems to be accepted as being for the father (not necessarily in his life time, but I think we could say before 1200). The inscription to Otes de Tilly, which has been recorded in slightly different forms but with the same meaning, appears to have been recut, but may well record a Romanesque original.

Features

Exterior Features

Other

rebuilt shaft on plinth

The cross is said to be approximately 40ft high (12.2m), but Jackson 1855 says it was 11ft 7 inches in circumference and 18ft high; Hunter says a cylindrical shaft. It is unlikely any of the original material survives; this is a late 18th-century reconstruction with not much resemblance to the original (see Comments).

Comments/Opinions

According to Hunter (1828, 10-11), the earlier cross was a cylindrical column, 18ft high (6.3m), with 4 half cylinders of smaller diameter attached to it. Each column was originally surmounted by a cross patté raised on a slender shaft.  In the Civil War the Puritans wanted to destroy it, and seem to have pulled down the crosses.  The mayor of the time saved it from destruction, but instead of crosses he put a dial and balls at the top of the shafts.  Originally the cross stood in Hallgate, but it was taken down in 1793 and was rebuilt from the same materials. However, J. E. Jackson stated 'none of the old materials appear to have been used for the purpose', i.e., re-erection in 1793 in the present position (1853, XIV, p. lxxxviii-xci).

Maurice Johnson, writing to William Stukeley in 1744 (Lukis 1887, 352) describes the earlier cross and the inscription.  A drawing of the ‘Doncaster Cross’ was published in 1753 in Vetusta Monumenta 2, plate 10 (reproduced on the British Museum website) but that drawing was according to the same source copied from an ‘old painting’ formerly belonging to Leeds antiquarian Ralph Thoresby (1658-1724). Johnson gives the inscription as: +I:CESTES:LA:CRVICE:OTE:DE:TILLIA:KI:ALME:DEV:ENFIACE:MERCI:AM - +

The Vetusta Monumenta version (1753) is:

Ices: Est: La: Cruice: Ote: D: Tilliaki: Alme: Dev: En: Face: Merci: Am.

and Hunter in 1828 gives it as:

ICEST EST LA CRVICE OTE D TILLI A KI ALME DEV EN FACE MERCI - AMEN 

Hunter and others have compared the cross to that at Braithwell (see Corpus report), a similarly much altered monument.

 

A council planning document on the South Parade Conservation Area, says 'The Hall Cross monument is contemporary with the Georgian terraces and is the focal point.'

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

  • British Museum website.

  • English Heritage listed buildings website.

  • C. T. Clay, Early Yorkshire Charters 8: The Honour of Warenne. Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record Series Extra 6.Leeds, 1949.

  • J. Hunter, South Yorkshire, Deanery of Doncaster 1. Nichols, London, Nichols1828.

  • John Edward Jackson, The History and Description of St George's church at Doncaster, destroyed by fire, February 28, 1853. London 1855. 

  • W. C. Lukis, ed., The Family Memoirs of the Rev. William Stukeley 3.  Surtees Society 80.  1887.

  • E. Miller, The History and Antiquities of Doncaster.  1804.

Location

Site Location
Doncaster, Hall Cross
National Grid Reference
SE 581 030 
Boundaries
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Yorkshire, West Riding
now: South Yorkshire
Diocese
now: Sheffield
medieval: York
Dedication
now:
medieval:
Type of building/monument
Shaft  
Report authors
Barbara English, Rita Wood 
Visit Date
24 Aug 2012