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Butter Cross, Tattershall

A Scheduled Monument in Tattershall, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.1045 / 53°6'16"N

Longitude: -0.1905 / 0°11'25"W

OS Eastings: 521238.825402

OS Northings: 357894.05454

OS Grid: TF212578

Mapcode National: GBR HSD.6PV

Mapcode Global: WHHL2.17KC

Entry Name: Butter Cross, Tattershall

Scheduled Date: 4 March 1947

Last Amended: 22 August 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009227

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22633

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Tattershall

Built-Up Area: Coningsby Airfield

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Tattershall Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the Butter Cross, a Grade I Listed standing stone cross,
located on the south west side of the market-place in the village of
Tattershall. The cross is of stepped form and is principally medieval in date
with modern additions. The monument includes the base, consisting of five
steps and a socket-stone, and the shaft, knop and head.

The base includes five steps, all octagonal in plan. The lowest step is
modern and is constructed of red sandstone blocks and concrete resting on a
concrete foundation. The four upper steps are medieval and are constructed of
limestone blocks, partially restored and now held together by iron clamps. On
the uppermost step rests the socket-stone, a large square slab with moulded
and chamfered corners. Set into the middle of the socket-stone is the shaft,
square in section at the base with chamfered corners tapering upwards in
octagonal section. The knop is elaborately carved with alternating shields
and figures; above is a frieze of blind arches. Both the shaft and the knop
are medieval. The head takes the form of a crucifix with foliate terminals
and represents a modern addition to the cross. The full height of the cross
is approximately 5.7m.

The modern paving on the south west side of the cross is excluded from the
scheduling although the ground beneath it is included. The monument includes a
1m boundary around the cross which is essential for the monument's support and

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 Butter Cross at Tattershall is a good example of a medieval standing cross
with a stepped base, including a carved medieval knop surviving in good
condition. Situated in the former market-place, 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
monument's construction and use in this location are likely to survive intact.
While parts of the cross survive from medieval times, subsequent restoration
has resulted in its continued function as a public monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England


Listed Building description, Department of the Environment, Market Cross, (1966)

Source: Historic England

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