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Helpringham village cross

A Scheduled Monument in Helpringham, Lincolnshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.9521 / 52°57'7"N

Longitude: -0.3049 / 0°18'17"W

OS Eastings: 513977.058551

OS Northings: 340757.618562

OS Grid: TF139407

Mapcode National: GBR GSN.V0T

Mapcode Global: WHHLS.9215

Entry Name: Helpringham village cross

Scheduled Date: 28 September 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009232

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22640

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Helpringham

Built-Up Area: Helpringham

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Helpringham St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln

Details

The monument includes Helpringham village cross, a standing stone cross
located on the village green to the east of the parish church. The cross is
of stepped form and is medieval and modern in date. The monument includes the
base, comprising four medieval steps, and the socket-stone, shaft and head,
which were added in the early 20th century as a war memorial.

The steps are all roughly square in plan and constructed of limestone blocks.
They occupy an area approximately 3.1m square and are surrounded on all sides
by an area of concrete paving with iron railings, which are not included in
the scheduling. All four steps are medieval in date with 19th- and 20th-
century repairs represented by iron clamps. On the uppermost step rests the
early 20th-century socket-stone, composed of two limestone slabs with moulded
and chamfered edges; the lower is inscribed as a memorial to soldiers of the
parish who were killed in World War I. Set into the middle of the socket-stone
is the shaft, of rectangular section and 1.22m in height, topped by a cross-
shaped head. The full height of the cross is approximately 3m.
This cross is listed as Grade II.
The concrete paving and iron railings which surround the cross are excluded
from the scheduling although the ground beneath these features is included.

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.

Helpringham village cross is a good example of a standing cross with a stepped
base. Situated on the village green, it is believed to stand in or near its
original position. Limited disturbance to 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 from medieval times, the subsequent restoration of the cross as
a war memorial has resulted in its continued function 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), 142

Source: Historic England

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