Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross, St Benedict's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Haltham, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.157 / 53°9'25"N

Longitude: -0.1379 / 0°8'16"W

OS Eastings: 524603.439113

OS Northings: 363827.142571

OS Grid: TF246638

Mapcode National: GBR HRW.1XZ

Mapcode Global: WHHKP.VXH4

Entry Name: Churchyard cross, St Benedict's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 4 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010680

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22675

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Haltham

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Roughton St Margaret

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the remains of a standing stone cross located in the
churchyard of St Benedict's Church, Haltham, approximately 8.5m south of the
nave. The cross is medieval in date and is constructed of limestone. The
monument includes the foundation and base of the cross and part of the shaft.

The foundation of the cross takes the form of a solid substructure, buried
beneath the turf, which extends 0.2m beyond the base on all sides. The base
consists of a socket stone, a single limestone block approximately 0.9m square
in section and standing to a height of about 0.23m above the ground surface.
The upper edge of the stone is chamfered. Set into the centre of the
socket stone with lead is the shaft fragment, 0.29m square in section at the
base rising through moulded and chamfered corners in tapering octagonal
section to a height of 0.88m. The top of the shaft fragment is flat and
contains a number of small holes, in some of which are the remains of metal
fittings of post-medieval date. At the bottom of each of the north and south
faces of the shaft, and in the middle of the east face, are similar holes. The
full height of the cross is about 1.1m. The cross is Listed Grade II.

The loose fragments of stonework which lie within the area of the scheduling,
and which may have originated as part of the cross, have been retrieved from
elsewhere and are excluded from the scheduling.

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 St Benedict's Church, Haltham, is a good example of a
medieval standing cross with a quadrangular base and octagonal shaft. Situated
on the south side of the church, it is believed to stand in or near its
original position. Limited activity in the area immediately surrounding the
cross indicates that archaeological deposits relating to the monument's
construction and use are likely to survive intact. The cross has been little
altered in modern times and has continued in use as a public monument and
amenity from medieval times to the present day.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Davies, D S, 'Lincolnshire Notes & Queries' in Ancient Stone Crosses in Lindsey and Holland Divisions of Lincs, , Vol. XIII no5, (1915), 149
Ordnance Survey record, Seaman, B.H., TF 26 SW 5, (1964)

Source: Historic England

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