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Churchyard cross, St Peter's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Stixwould and Woodhall, Lincolnshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.1769 / 53°10'36"N

Longitude: -0.2407 / 0°14'26"W

OS Eastings: 517679.241503

OS Northings: 365864.231501

OS Grid: TF176658

Mapcode National: GBR HRB.ZXQ

Mapcode Global: WHHKN.8DMW

Entry Name: Churchyard cross, St Peter's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 6 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010682

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22677

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Stixwould and Woodhall

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Stixwould St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln

Details

The monument includes the remains of a standing stone cross located in the
churchyard of St Peter's Church, Stixwould, approximately 9m to the south of
the nave. The cross is principally medieval in date. The monument includes
the base, comprising a step, plinth and socket stone, and the shaft.

The cross stands on a gradual, south facing slope, and the whole leans
slightly to the south. The step is constructed of worn slabs and covers an
area of approximately 1.5m. On it rests the plinth, composed of limestone
blocks, measuring approximately 1.14m square. The upper part of the plinth is
chamfered, and the north eastern and north western corners are broken away.
Fixed to the plinth with traces of mortar is the socket stone, a single block
approximately 0.93m square in section; the upper corners are moulded and
chamfered to a top of octagonal section. Set into the socket stone with lead
is the shaft, square in section at the base rising through moulded and
chamfered corners in irregular, tapering octagonal section. The full height
of the cross is nearly 3.5m.

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.

The churchyard cross at St Peter's Church, Stixwould, 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 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. 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

Sources

Books and journals
Davies, D S, 'Lincolnshire Notes & Queries' in Ancient Stone Crosses in Lindsey and Holland Divisions of Lincs, , Vol. XIII no7, (1915), 217

Source: Historic England

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