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Rowston village cross

A Scheduled Monument in Rowston, Lincolnshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.093 / 53°5'34"N

Longitude: -0.3826 / 0°22'57"W

OS Eastings: 508408.922983

OS Northings: 356308.881785

OS Grid: TF084563

Mapcode National: GBR GR0.03T

Mapcode Global: WHGJV.3J36

Entry Name: Rowston village cross

Scheduled Date: 28 September 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009230

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22638

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Rowston

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Rowston St Clement

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln

Details

The monument includes Rowston village cross, a standing stone cross located on
a small green at the road junction south of the parish church. The cross is of
stepped form and is medieval in date, with additions dating to the restoration
of 1910. The monument includes the base, comprising two steps and a
socket-stone, and a fragment of the shaft.

The base includes two steps, the lower of which is approximately 1.67m square
and constructed of rectangular slabs resting on coursed rubble. The tops of
the slabs forming the south west and north west corners each have a circular
hole about 0.3m in diameter, now filled in with cement. This step dates from
the restoration of 1910. The upper step is constructed of a single
rectangular slab of medieval date with later repairs on the east side. On this
step rests the socket-stone, a single limestone slab with slightly chamfered
corners; this piece is also of medieval date, with later repairs underneath.
Into the socket-stone is set the medieval shaft fragment, which is
quadrangular in section at the base with chamfered corners rising in tapering
octagonal section to its original height of 0.75m. The fragment terminates in
a flat top with a small depression in the centre, into which the upper stone
of the original shaft was formerly fixed.
This cross is listed Grade II.

MAP EXTRACT
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.

Rowston village cross is a good example of the remains of a medieval standing
cross with a stepped base. Situated on the village green, it is believed to
stand in or near its original position. Limited disturbance 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 parts of the cross have survived since medieval times, subsequent
restoration has resulted in its continued use as a public monument and
amenity.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Davies, D S, 'Lincolnshire Notes and Queries' in Ancient Stone Crosses in Kesteven, , Vol. XII no.5, (1913), 146

Source: Historic England

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