Ancient Monuments

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Washingborough village cross

A Scheduled Monument in Washingborough, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.2228 / 53°13'22"N

Longitude: -0.4748 / 0°28'29"W

OS Eastings: 501926.114271

OS Northings: 370618.229743

OS Grid: TF019706

Mapcode National: GBR FMT.SYD

Mapcode Global: WHGJ6.P834

Entry Name: Washingborough village cross

Scheduled Date: 13 October 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009221

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22627

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Washingborough

Built-Up Area: Washingborough

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Washingborough St John

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes Washingborough village cross, a standing stone cross
which stands in an open area to the east of the parish church. It is of
stepped form and is medieval and later in date. The monument includes the
foundations of the cross, a base consisting of four steps and a socket-stone,
all of which are principally medieval in date; it also includes a shaft and
head, which date from a late 19th century restoration. The cross was again
restored in the mid-20th century.

The foundation of the cross is now partly visible above an irregular ground
surface and includes mortared rubble, brick and masonry. The steps are
roughly square in plan and are constructed of limestone blocks around a
mortared rubble core. The edges of the three lower steps are slightly
chamfered. On the fourth step stands the socket-stone, 0.86m square and
approximately 0.55m high; the corners are moulded and chamfered so that the
top of the stone is octagonal in section.

The foundation, steps and socket-stone are all considered to be medieval in
origin. The three lower steps include notches, some containing iron
fragments, which indicate that the steps were formerly partly clamped
together. A stone slab in the eastern face of the lowest step contains an
inscription recording the restoration of 1947.

Set into the socket-stone is the stone shaft, of rectangular section at the
base rising through chamfered corners to an ornamented knop; above it is the
cross-head, which takes the form of a stone crucifix with traceried decoration
in the angles. Both the shaft and cross-head are late 19th-century in date.

The modern paving around the cross is excluded from the scheduling although
the ground beneath it is included. The cross is also Listed Grade II.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 1 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.

Washingborough village cross is a good example of a medieval standing cross
with a stepped base. Situated in an open area to the east of the parish
church it is believed to stand in its original position, and minimal
development of the area immediately surrounding the cross indicates that
archaeological deposits relating to the monument's construction and use are
likely to survive intact. While the medieval steps and socket-stone of the
cross survived into modern times, the subsequent restoration of the shaft and
head has resulted in its continued function as a public monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Davies, D S, 'Lincolnshire Notes and Queries' in Ancient Stone Crosses in Kesteven, , Vol. XII no.5, (1913), 149
Listed Building Description, Village Cross,

Source: Historic England

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