Market Cross, Keighley, West Yorkshire

Cross: OS Grid Reference – SE 06042 41002

Getting Here

Dead easy this one!  Go along North Street in Keighley, towards the main church in the middle of town (a St. Andrew’s church, previously St. Pete), by the once-infamous Lord Rodney pub, and the old stone edifice stands outside by the Green.  The much better Red Pig public house is across the road from here.

Archaeology & History

Keighley's Town Cross, 1847 - illustrated on a painting by Edwin Riby
Keighley’s Town Cross, 1847 – on a painting by Edwin Riby

For a relatively trivial archaeological site, it’s got a bittova history.  Not that this is an old site either!  We’re not sure just when this cross was made, but it’s certainly no more than 300 years old.  Before standing in its present position outside St. Andrew’s Church, sometime before 1840 it was said to have been a few hundred yards away above the present roundabout on Oakworth Road; and one record tells that it originally came from nearby Utley, a mile to the north.  Due to lack of decent records, we’re not sure about its early status as a market cross, nor when it was first erected.  Indeed, even the steps on which the cross presently stands are clearly more recent than the ones illustrated on Edwin Riby’s 1847 portrait, reproduced here.

Keighley Cross, on a grey wet day!
Keighley Cross, on a grey wet day!

It would be good to get a complete history of this archaeological relic but it’s difficult with artifacts such as these; and although gaining access to the church now takes less time and effort than it used to (the vicar here used to be quite unhelpful, but has recently changed his ways – which is good!), it’s only open at certain times of the week.*  Friday afternoons seem OK to have a look round.  Please – if folk begin having trouble gaining access to the Church once more, let us know on here so we can make complaints about it.  The Church is paid for by local tax-payer’s cash, and so needs to be open to all of us.  Let’s hope this humble ingredient can be maintained for the good of all in this otherwise regressive social community (Keighley, that is…).

There’s also some very curious folklore to be added here in relation to the market and its cross, but its tale is gonna have to wait…


  1. Gray, Johnnie, Through Airedale, from Goole to Malham, Elliott Stock: London 1891.
  2. Keighley, William, Keighley, Past and Present, R. Aked: Keighley 1858.

* There isn’t even a notice giving information, email or phone numbers, telling you who you can contact if you want to know anything about the history of the church, or visit it — which is quite dreadful considering how much money they get paid by tax-payers for their supposed socio-spiritual duties.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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One thought on “Market Cross, Keighley, West Yorkshire”

  1. I believe the so-called market cross outside St Andrew’s “shared church” dates from 1150 AD and has been described as being an Anglian cross-shaft, but it is not, it is more recent. In fact, it resembles rounded cross shafts from Staffordshire (which was part of the Mercian kingdom). The site of St Andrew’s church is an old one, probably, according to some, the site of a saxon graveyard. Christianity first arrived in the Keighley district in AD 867 so its conceivable that the church site dates back to that time. On the top of the crudely carved shaft stands a modern little concrete cross which doesn’t go well with the ancient shaft, sadly. St Andrew’s probably dates from the 12th century – there doesn’t appear to have been a church here before the Norman conquest ?

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