Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross, St Vincent's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Caythorpe, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.026 / 53°1'33"N

Longitude: -0.6016 / 0°36'5"W

OS Eastings: 493889.238483

OS Northings: 348549.963637

OS Grid: SK938485

Mapcode National: GBR DNT.BQG

Mapcode Global: WHGK3.Q6QJ

Entry Name: Churchyard cross, St Vincent's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 28 September 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009225

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22631

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Caythorpe

Built-Up Area: Caythorpe

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Caythorpe St Vincent

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes a Listed Grade II standing stone cross located in the
churchyard of St Vincent's Church, Caythorpe, approximately 5m south east of
the south porch. The cross is of stepped form and is medieval and modern in
date. The monument includes the foundation and base, consisting of a plinth
and three steps, which are early 20th-century in date; a medieval socket-
stone; and a shaft and ornamented head, also of early 20th-century date.

The steps are square in plan and constructed of limestone blocks resting on a
chamfered plinth. An inscription on the western face of the second step
records the restoration of 1906. On this step stands the socket-stone, square
in section at the base with moulded and chamfered corners rising to a top of
octagonal section. Set into the socket-stone is a stone shaft of square
section at the base with chamfered corners tapering upwards in irregular
octagonal section. The lowest part of the shaft is 0.87m high and represents
the remains of the original medieval shaft. The head of the cross takes the
form of a gabled canopy containing figural scenes; both the head and the upper
part of the shaft date from the early 20th-century restoration. The full
height of the cross is approximately 5m.

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.

The churchyard cross at Caythorpe is a good example of a medieval standing
cross with a quadrangular socket-stone and octagonal shaft. Limited activity
in the area immediately surrounding the cross indicates that archaeological
deposits relating to the monument's construction 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 and head has
resulted in the continued function of the cross as a public monument and

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Russell, J, St. Vincent's Church, Caythorpe, (1990)
White, W, History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Lincolnshire, (1856)

Source: Historic England

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