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Cranwell village cross

A Scheduled Monument in Cranwell, Brauncewell and Byard's Leap, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.0368 / 53°2'12"N

Longitude: -0.4619 / 0°27'42"W

OS Eastings: 503229.569755

OS Northings: 349937.009861

OS Grid: TF032499

Mapcode National: GBR FQ4.Q18

Mapcode Global: WHGJZ.WX6T

Entry Name: Cranwell village cross

Scheduled Date: 28 September 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009224

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22630

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Cranwell, Brauncewell and Byard's Leap

Built-Up Area: Cranwell

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Cranwell St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes Cranwell village cross, a Grade II listed standing stone
cross of medieval and later date. The cross, which stands in a paved area at
the centre of a road junction south west of the parish church, is of stepped
form with a shaft and cross-shaped head. The monument includes the base,
consisting of three modern steps and a medieval socket-stone, the shaft, part
of which is also medieval, and a modern cross-head. The cross was restored in
the 20th century.

The steps are square in plan and are constructed of limestone blocks around a
concrete core, and cover an area approximately 2.22m square. Set onto the top
of this step is the socket-stone, a worn limestone block approximately 0.9m
square and 0.7m high. Each corner is moulded and chamfered so that the top of
the stone is roughly octagonal in section. The north western and north eastern
corners include the remains of carved decoration. Set into the centre of the
socket-stone is the shaft, 0.3m square in section at the base, which takes the
form of a modern red sandstone block; this supports a block of limestone with
chamfered corners and tapering octagonal section which represents the bottom
of the original shaft. The upper parts of the shaft are composed of limestone
and sandstone pieces dating from a 20th century restoration. Above the knop is
an ornamented cross-shaped head, also of modern date. The full height of the
cross is nearly 4m.

This cross is Listed Grade II. The paving immediately surrounding the cross is
excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath it is included.

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.

Cranwell village cross is a good example of a medieval standing cross with a
quadrangular socket-stone and octagonal shaft. Situated at a road junction in
the village centre, it is believed to stand in or near its original position.
Limited development of the area immediately surrounding the cross indicates
that archaeological deposits relating to the construction and use of the cross
in this location are likely to survive intact. While the socket-stone and
part of the shaft have survived from medieval times, the subsequent
restoration of the steps, knop and head has resulted in the continued function
of the cross 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), 136

Source: Historic England

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